Giving thanks in adversity

Published 1:27 am Thursday, November 24, 2011

You probably know America’s first official Thanksgiving was celebrated during the Civil War following a proclamation of thanks by President Abraham Lincoln.
Of course, the “original” Thanksgiving dates to 1621, but Thanksgiving, as a national tradition, started amid our greatest misfortune, when the nation was more divided than at any other time in its history.
Today, we celebrate this holiday of thanks in a later crisis.
The recovery of our country’s economy has been slow and painful; locally, hundreds, if not thousands, of Beaufort County residents are struggling to piece their lives together in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
But there is much to be thankful for.
It’s a highly individual thing, this source of thanks.
For some of us, it’s being with family and friends.
For others of us, it’s remembering what seemed to be a simpler time, a childhood revel with loved ones now lost.
Thanksgiving can be a day to relive warm memories or a day to perform services for the unerprivileged, who have less to be thankful for than most of us.
Above all, Thanksgiving 2011 can be a reminder that, as a nationwide observance, this day was born during a war that shed harsh light on doubts about the future of America — a war that claimed more of our country’s lives than any other.
America survived that war, living to give thanks in this, the 150th anniversary year of the War Between the States.
Today, let’s give thanks for this nation that lives, despite its trials, and will prosper again.
Let’s give thanks for the fact that we have survived far worse hardships than we now endure, and that our adaptability — our will to survive — is what makes us great.
Let’s give thanks for our national character and our freedom.