Millions of Americans are hitting the roads today to be with family and friends as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow. While fewer Americans will fly to their destination than in the past, the experts
predict overall travel will actually be up. The desire to be with those we love and those that love us is particularly strong this year. Recent events have reminded all, of the fragility of life and the uncertainty of what the future holds – at least in this world.
In spite of the challenges we face, all of us can be thankful to be American. Of course we have troubling problems – family breakdown, disrespect for the sanctity of life, an erosion of reliable standards of right and wrong, the pettiness of our politics, and many more. But, we would be wrong to conclude from these things that our country is
decadent and in decline. With all of our problems we are still the nation that represents man’s last best hope on earth.
The reservoir of our character could be seen on September 11th, when hundreds of police and fireman rushed up the stairs of the World Trade Center and into the jaws of hell to rescue strangers. It could be seen as countless of us, facing death, called home to say to husbands, wives, and children “I love you,” “Don’t forget me,” “Tell the kids every day what they meant to me,” “Forgive me.”
The American character could be seen in a plane over Pennsylvania where a Christian man led a charge down the
isle to battle armed hijackers and by doing so spared us another horrible sight of destruction – perhaps a burning White House or smoldering Capitol.
We are the country that has for over 200 years put “freedom’s army” into the field. Our warriors have died on foreign battlefields not for conquest, or power, or wealth, but virtually always for someone else’s freedom. If by some terrible tragedy America would disappear tomorrow the world would more closely resemble hell as the strong and viscous preyed on the weak and defenseless. It is you and your children that stand, now as in the past, as a bulwark against tyranny.
We are the direct descendants of the patriots who wrote, “All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator …” These words have transformed the world, bringing hope to millions, and today still strike terror in the hearts of dictators and thugs. We have been generous to our friends and forgiving of our enemies – treating our vanquished foes better than many nations treat their allies.
For all these reasons and more, we can thank God to live in this good and decent land. I pray that each of us in the weeks ahead will work harder to make it an even better place – truly a “shining city on a hill” – a place where every child is welcomed into the world and protected by the law, a place where promises are kept and dreams fulfilled.
God Bless you my friends, and thank you for being our partners in this great adventure.
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(From our archives November 2001)
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