We observe Thanksgiving 2012 at a time when our nation has much to celebrate. The economy continues to inch forward and hundreds of thousands of American men and women in uniform have come home to their loved ones. Once again the nation has held a peaceful election that produced a clear winner and hopeful signs that national leaders are ready to reconcile their differences and agree to work together for the public good.
Closer to home, South Florida made forward strides on many fronts, from the work on the PortMiami tunnel to a pickup in real estate that offers the hope of a genuine revival in the buying and selling of homes. Miami International Airport continues to modernize, a showcase for the community and no longer a public bone of contention.
Voters in Miami-Dade County showed their faith in the future by giving overwhelming approval to a big school bond issue, while the school district claimed a distinguished prize for improving the education of the community’s children. Unlike previous years, major budget crises in public finances at the local level were averted.
All of this gives a “turning the corner” feel to events in South Florida. There is much to be thankful for in 2012.
As we approach the end of another hurricane season, we have once again been fortunate to escape the ravages of a major storm, aware that many of our fellow citizens in the northeast face a bleak Thanksgiving because their homes were destroyed and lives upended by an invader called Sandy. We are thankful for our own blessings and devoutly hope that recovery comes soon to the afflicted.
At the same time, amid these blessings, there are reasons to be apprehensive.
The economic recovery remains fragile and could be endangered if public officials fail to reach agreement on crucial issues. The bitter tone of the campaign has abated, but not disappeared. Recent events remind us that the Middle East remains explosive, a crucible of danger and a recurring menace to global stability.
Locally, there are problems that must be confronted. Our aging infrastructure beneath the ground, the storm and sewer drains, shows signs of collapse if something is not done quickly. Repairing it will not be cheap.
The state has failed to solve the issue of windstorm insurance that brings many homeowners to the edge of despair. Complaints of voters suppression and incompetence by election officials must be addressed.
On balance, though, what is most striking on this Thanksgiving Day is American resilience, the practical spirit of determination to overcome hardship. We have seen that in the last few years as we emerge from an era of war and economic gloom.
It is what Abraham Lincoln had in mind when he told the nation 149 years ago to set aside its troubles — far greater than ours today, with the dead at Gettysburg still fresh in the memory of the living — and to give thanks to the Almighty on Thanksgiving Day.
He believed that those things that give Americans a common legacy and forge bonds of unity are stronger and more durable than whatever divides us. If he could hold fast to that faith in America in 1863, surely those who share the bounties and liberties of this country today can do the same.
That is the spirit of Thanksgiving, the reason we celebrate this most American of holidays with our friends, our families and our loved ones.