Aussies Mourn Fire Victims

Fires bared worst of nature, best of humanity, says prime minister
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 22, 2009 7:45 AM CST
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, seen on the big screens, speaks at a national Day of Mourning ceremony in Melbourne today for those killed in the Victorian wildfires.   (AP Photo/Ian Currie, Pool)
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(Newser) – As bells tolled, mourners throughout Australia prayed at services today for the 209 people killed in wildfires and those still missing, CNN reports. “House is gone, friends are gone. This is total destruction,” said one resident. Rescue teams continue to search through the devastation as firefighters still battled blazes in some areas and prepared for more possible flames in a coming heat wave.

“As a people, we weep for the lost," said Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in a televised memorial. "We tend the injured. We console the suffering. And yet, our work has barely begun. What we saw on Black Saturday, what we saw at work was the worst of nature, yet the best of humanity.”