With the Great Recession weighing heavily on everyone's minds - and most everyone's pocketbook - celebrating America's traditional bounty might cloud our thoughts on this Thanksgiving Day.
But we have to repeat what we advised last year, by thinking back to another American economic downturn. Be ready to hum along with Irving Berlin as you read his lyrics: "I got the sun in the morning and the moon at night."
That happy-go-lucky attitude can't help but be infectious. Ever since the first Thanksgiving celebrated a successful harvest and a new adventure in a new land, the American spirit has been ready and able to whistle against the darkness in expectation of a brighter future. That positive attitude is a defining standard of our culture. It is an outlook that connects us with all other Americans across generations and an entire continent.
In fact, it's quite easy to count so many blessings that our turkey and trimmings could get cold before we finish saying Grace. Despite the current downturn, we live in relative prosperity. We have unparalleled freedoms to think, do and say as we please, as long as we do not injure our neighbors. Though we have service men and women in jeopardy around the world, we have peace within our own shores. We are able to have a voice in choosing governments, leaders and policies, and make those changes without violence or turmoil. We expect clean water, clean air and medical care as basic rights. We have an ever-growing understanding of the world around us, leading us to a seemingly limitless parade of "new and improved" products and services.
And here on the Wild Rivers Coast, we live amid amazing natural beauty and bounty, with a shared commitment to finding ways to both harvest and protect those resources.
In the short term, the American experience is challenging. On Thanksgiving Day, we continue to set aside trials of the moment and celebrate the long view: Life is good, and it can get better.