Thanksgiving after trauma

Outside editorial

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2001

The following editorial appeared in today's Providence Journal:

This year, Thanksgiving has a special meaning. The horrific events of the fall have caused many of us to draw closer to friends and family, and to remember how precious life is, and how easily it can be taken away. The fortunate, which includes most Americans, will give thanks for the food and comforts we are blessed to have in a world where the vast majority are not so fortunate - indeed, for the joy of just being alive, in America, on this perhaps most American of holidays.

Beyond the circle of home and family, there is much else to be thankful for. America has sustained a fierce attack, both in deaths and the psychological impact. We know much better now that Americans are not shielded from extremists who wish to commit mass-murder. But we have pledged to fight back, to sustain freedom, and to send a message of strength and endurance. Americans have rallied to support the families of victims, and even to help suffering innocents in Afghanistan.

Mass-murderers and at least some of their client states now know that there will be a price for terrorist plots against America. Let's give thanks they now have that new understanding.

The war in Afghanistan appears to be going well, and those believed responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks are starting to pay for their miscalculation.

At home, a new spirit of confidence is in the air. Oil prices are lower, retail spending was strong last month, and the stock market is trending upward, as investors bet that America's economy will revive in 2002.

All this, in the face of a shattering attack only two months ago. That says much about America's spirit.

In the storied Thanksgiving in 1621, the Pilgrims are said to have given thanks for the abundant harvest that helped them survive as they struggled to create a new home in a sometimes inhospitable New World. We have learned this year that we must sometimes struggle on the edge (though nothing to compare with the hardships that the Pilgrims suffered!), and that our blessings are never to be taken for granted.

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