At this time of year, our thoughts turn to gathering with friends and family, to pilgrims and harvests, and to Thanksgiving dinner. We stuff ourselves, swap stories, watch college football and, hopefully, reflect on those things in our lives for which we are thankful.
While times remain troubled abroad and our country’s economy is perched on rocky ground, there is nonetheless much to be thankful for this year. Just this month, we bore witness to, and were able to participate in, America’s greatest attribute: our political system that results in free and fair elections.
Alexandria has had its share of travails, but we also have been blessed in ways big and small. The Times’ staff has put together the following list of things for which we give thanks. We’d love to hear from you with your additions.
We are thankful for:
- Being spared widespread destruction and loss of life from the derecho storm this summer and Hurricane Sandy earlier this month.
- The incredible campaigns for city council and mayor that were waged all year. The weeks leading up to the Democratic primary, with 14 candidates vying for six ballot slots, were the most spirited in recent memory.
- Living in a community where people passionately care about issues like Alexandria’s waterfront redevelopment. Yes, there were clashes between people with differing viewpoints, but ultimately, what we all want is an Alexandria that is preserved and improved.
- The closing of the GenOn power plant, which was a victory for community involvement and the health of city residents. Now we need to clean up that site.
- Bright spots — such as Lyles Crouch, which just won the National School of Character Award for the second time in five years — within a school system that continues to struggle with challenges on many fronts.
- A relatively stable economy, with only a 4.4-percent unemployment rate in September, compared to the national average of almost 7.9 percent. Alexandria’s history and location continue to attract tourists and their dollars to our city.
- A wonderful baseball season in which the Washington Nationals led the major leagues with 98 wins and made the playoffs for the first time since moving to D.C. in 2005. Also, our Alexandria Aces made the playoffs for the first time in the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League.
- The decision to make hand-trucks permanent fixtures in Alexandria. Those little trucks are a great way for people living and working in our city to eat lunch quickly and inexpensively.
- Our wonderful readers and advertisers, who make the Alexandria Times possible.
Finally, we give thanks for the ability to be your community newspaper in a city as vibrant, caring and historic as Alexandria. Happy Thanksgiving!