The smell of food fills Chateau Thompson today. Amy spent a good part of the night preparing a nice size turkey and fixings. Our original plans to spend today with relatives fell through because of illness of others.
We will probably flip on the tube, watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and remember our 1991 trip to New York to see the parade and endure "Black Friday" by fighting the crowds for the first official shopping day of Christmas.
That year, a decade before the 9/11 terrorist attack that changed live forever in Manhattan and the rest of the country, the mood was festive and relaxed. Our last trip together to the Big Apple came two weeks before the attacks on the World Trade Center. We took the high-speed Acela train up from Washington, had a leisurely lunch at a favorite deli and spent the afternoon at the Guggenheim before catching the train back that night.
On 9/11 I spent most of the day at the Pentagon but would head for New York a few days later on assignment. The city remained in a state of shock and incredibly-tight security surrounded the Thanksgiving Day Parade that year. Each time I returned to New York, I noticed, with sadness, how much things had changed for the worse.
New Yorkers, like many Americans, are a hardy lot and can bounce back from tragedy but 9/11 left America scarred and those scars have not healed. When we sit down to our turkey dinners today we need to remember not only the more than 3,000 who died on that day in New York, Washington and a farm field in Pennsylvania where United 93 crashed but also the 3,875 Americans and unknown number of Iraqi civilians who have died to date in a war that many feel never needed to be waged.
As Americans we have a lot to be thankful for on this day but we also must never forget that our way of life could, and should, be much better. Complacency can be a bigger enemy than any terrorist.