Thursday, November 27, 2008

Cause for Thanks

I learned of yesterday's terrorist threat against New York City subways and commuter railroads from a young relative from California who is staying with us for Thanksgiving. At first I thought someone was pulling his leg, and did not believe it until I saw the story on a news site. Not being a frequent rail traveler, he seemed quite concerned. I told him not to worry , although I had noticed an unusually high police presence that morning at Penn Station.

We agreed to meet on a street corner outside Penn Station where it would be easier to spot him than in the nation's busiest railroad depot on the busiest travel days of the year. There was a police mobile command post on the corner and several police officers on patrol by foot and car. Without warning, at least a dozen patrol cars pulled out into Eighth Avenue to head north, as if something was going on. I met up with my wife's cousin and our trip on the Long Island Rail Road was without incident.

Today I am thankful for the FBI, which intercepted a "plausible but unsubstantiated" terrorist threat back in September and for New York's Finest for their excellence performance yesterday. I am saddened, thought, that authorities in Mumbai didn't have the same kind of advance warning so they might have been able to prevent or defend against the horrible terrorist attacks there that have claimed over 100 lives, so far.

It's a sober reminder that in this year, in which so much has gone badly on global and personal levels, that there is still much to be thankful for. Our economy may be in the tank and our troops are engaged in two wars, but our democratic institutions remain intact and we have elected new leadership with the vision to guide us in confronting the challenges we face. In times like this, I am reminded of a line from an old Roy Orbison tune: "Today's teardrops bring tomorrows rainbows."

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