Our Views: Today is a day of unity

We like the nice coincidence of hurricane season coming to a close about the same time that Thanksgiving arrives. The hurricane season officially closes at the end of November, just a few days from now, bringing to an end the period when weather experts say conditions are most likely for a hurricane to form.

The upcoming end of hurricane season is certainly something for which we will be grateful as we bow our heads over the turkey and trimmings today. This year’s hurricane season did not leave Louisiana unspared. Hurricane Isaac’s march through Louisiana at summer’s end caused some damage, though not as much as hurricanes Gustav, Rita or Katrina.

That’s little comfort, of course, to those who did sustain damage from Isaac, either through wind damage or flooding. Our hearts go out to our fellow Louisiana residents who won’t be in their homes for Thanksgiving today because of what Isaac wrought.

The biggest headline-grabber in the weather news this year has been Hurricane Sandy, which brought so much misery to the East Coast after its landfall shortly before Halloween. Residents of New York state and New Jersey continue to deal with what promises to be a long recovery from Sandy.

Maybe we’re not the only ones who’ve been feeling a little misty-eyed when we hear news of Louisiana residents heading to New York or New Jersey to help Sandy’s victims put their lives back together. What an eloquent expression of gratitude to all of our fellow Americans who helped Louisiana residents after Katrina.

The thought of New York under attack from a major storm had special resonance for us. New York is a symbol of America to the world, and we feel in a reflexive way a threat to Gotham is a threat to all of us.

On a more basic level, of course, pain and suffering anywhere in America should unite all of America.

The response to Sandy has reminded us of the unity of purpose that galvanized America after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

In this post-election season, Americans need reminding that regardless of party, creed or race, we’re fellow citizens of a country that has enjoyed tremendous blessings.

Today, across red states and blue states, we are united by a common holiday, a holiday of thanks.

Today, we give thanks for the food on our tables, the roofs that shelter us, the clothes on our backs. We hope and pray for those who have struggled to find life’s basic necessities in the wake of a global recession, and we wish for brighter times ahead for our country and our world.

We observe today’s holiday with the knowledge that other Thanksgivings have arrived in our history in even more sobering times. We think of the first Thanksgiving observed by the Pilgrims after months of devastating struggle. President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday in 1863, as the country was split by Civil War. We remember Thanksgiving Day 1963, observed only days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

We are a strong country, and much of that strength has come from a deep awareness of what is good and enduring about our national life.

Thanksgiving is a time to acknowledge those blessings, and we wish all of our readers a meaningful holiday.