Last night, as is our tradition, we boarded coach buses to go into NYC to see the balloon inflation. The city has implemented crowd control and the crowds have grown exponentially over the years. Gone are the days you could wander in and out, stop for a coffee and hot chocolate and then return for another view of the massive cartoon characters. The balloons are as impressive as ever, but now they start inflating them earlier so more people can see them - I guess many people didn't like the flat ones.
The unusual aspect of this year's event was the police presence. While there have been police in view since September 11, this year was extraordinary. There were police cameras mounted high on light poles, and there was no point during the walk that we couldn't see a number of officers. There were also helicopters flying over the event continuously. In the past there has been a occasional news craft, but, again, nothing like this year. We commented on it, joked about it, and complained about the "organization" of it all.
Then, with a heavy heart, I read this morning's newspaper. The Taj hotel is the one Bill stayed in for his first trips to India. Luckily for his Indian staff, they moved their offices to a different city a couple of years ago. As the news reports fill in more details, the scene becomes more vivid in my mind. My heart goes out to those living through the chaos today. I can't help but remember our national chaos that September day. Waking up and starting a perfectly normal day, then watching the events unfold and being in shock at the reality. Our world changed that day, but we have coped with the changes and retain our national pride and spirit.
The economy continues to be in the news and I am trying to balance my feeling of insecurity and the desire to hunker down, with the kids exuberance of the holiday spirit. They hear the words about the economy, but it doesn't mean anything to them. Like last night ... they saw the helicopters and police and didn't think about the insecurity of our world.
So, as we embark on this holiday season, I move forward with hope for the future, and prayers for those who are in need. I think of those who are jobless, those who have lost their retirement funds, those who have lost college investments. I think of those in Mumbai and other places in the world affected by senseless violence. I think of our soldiers trying to stem the tide of chaos in places far away.
I have hope because we are strong together. I have hope because this nation found the strength to vote for a president of hope. I have hope because our nation is resilient and willing to help those in need. In those who lived through the depression, I see the hope of the future. In those who lived through war and chaos, I see the hope of the future.
On this Thanksgiving Day, especially, I am thankful for my family, our community, and the strength of both. It is my sincere desire that I am able to show my children and my family how much I love and rely on them. We are all members of the community of humanity, and I will do my best to give back to this community through the year. Especially during this upcoming year of need. It is through family that we learn loving, tolerance and strength. It is through community that we show the faith that we have in others and the hope we have for the future.
So to my family, I give you my thanks on this day. I thank you for your love and support. My children are richer because of all of you.