Thanksgiving, and so much for us to be thankful for.
A bit of history: President George Washington, our nation's first president, started the Thanksgiving tradition way back in 1789. With an official proclamation that year, Washington called for Nov. 26 to be a day of prayer and of giving thanks. Decades later, President Abraham Lincoln called on Americans to set aside the last Thursday in November ever year to celebrate Thanksgiving. Congress later established the date as a national holiday.
More than 200 years later, in 2009, we have not forgotten the bounty we enjoy. Even with the economic troubles the nation is facing, and with too many local businesses struggling to stay afloat, we are thankful in many ways.
We live in a scenic wonderland, and the golden and bright red autumn leaves in particular have been amazing lately. What a treat to the senses.
We're blessed with a fine school system, a caring community with a strong volunteer spirit, small business owners going out of their way to support local causes, and political leaders at the "neighborhood" level -- city and county in particular -- who seem to be sincerely dedicated to doing what they can to help make the lives of our citizens better.
We don't have to deal with traffic backups while coming into or driving out of Bingen and White Salmon. If we need to get to the post office, or the bank, or the grocery store -- we can usually walk to get to it. That's all part of the benefit and charm of living in a small town, but we sure don't take it for granted.
In a time when many businesses across the country are laying off workers or closing their doors completely, we are fortunate to have an innovative aerospace company in our community, Insitu, that is growing fast and hiring many to keep up with expanding orders. And another big employer -- SDS Lumber Co. -- routinely goes out of its way to find ways to benefit the overall community, as witness its recent proposal to renovate Pioneer Park in White Salmon.
Further, when the community organizes a food drive to help those dealing with especially hard times, area citizens rally with a very generous response. There is a real spirit of concern for others that is gratifying and reassuring to see.
We have our problems, of course, but add it all up and it's easy to see we are truly blessed.
Happy Thanksgiving, 2009.