Counting our blessings following unusual year

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 23, 2001

Downtown Natchez was abuzz with last-minute shoppers on Saturday. As clouds rolled in darkening the sky, the lights of Christmas made the city sparkle.

Shining despite the gloom – it seems the perfect metaphor for the turbulent year we’ve experienced. From the controversial vote on Mississippi’s flag in April to the stumbling economy, the first half of the year was difficult to categorize.

The economy was not anything compared to the Great Depression, but it has been troubling. Locally, the uncertain nature of International Paper’s Natchez mill has kept local leaders cautious.

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And then Sept. 11 came. The terrorist attacks on targets in New York and outside Washington shook the already unsteady mood.

But an amazing thing has happened in the wake of Sept. 11 – America is finding its identity again.

Lost somewhere between pop culture and capitalism, many Americans had nearly forgotten some of the things about our country and her people that we cherish.

Now, post-Sept. 11, Americans have brushed away the dust and realized the importance of the freedoms that we hold so dear.

America – despite all her faults and problems – is still the best place in the world to live. And Natchez and other small towns represent some of the best of America.

As we look around at all of the good going on in our community, it warms our hearts.

From the Salvation Army and the Stewpot to the Concordia Christmas Charity Fund and the Natchez Children’s Christmas Tree Fund, our area is filled with Americans helping one another during the holiday season – and all year round.

As Christmas nears, we all have much for which to be thankful.