Jewish World Review Nov. 16, 2001 / 1 Kislev, 5762

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Arianna Huffington
Jeff Jacoby
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

A different portion of Thanks -- THE traditional turkey and all the trimmings will be served Norman Rockwell style. There will be the customary pre-feast scuffle in the kitchen as two grown adults wrestle a large, unwieldy leaf into a stubborn oak table. A football game will drone away on the television, and with precise predictability, Uncle Bob will whip out the Scrabble board minutes after the last pie plate has been washed, dried and returned to the cupboard.

Yet, despite the many time-honored traditions, Thanksgiving will be different this year. For roughly five thousand grieving families, this will be the first Thanksgiving table with an empty chair. A husband or wife, mom or dad, son or daughter, will be missing from the holiday gathering.

Somewhere a mini-van will pull into a Grandma's driveway. She'll count heads as they pile out of the vehicle and a deep emptiness will bounce to the surface as she is once again reminded that one of her flock is forever gone. Adults will gather in quiet corners to measure the heartache, remember a shattering phone call or recall a memorial service. Young women like Lisa Beamer will hold children close and reminisce about good times with a terrific father who died too soon.

For others, a chair will be empty because a family member proudly wears a military uniform. These loved ones will celebrate Thanksgiving halfway around the world, with shipmates at sea, or armed forces on foreign soil.

Even in homes where all the chairs are full, Thanksgiving will be different. Emergency workers, law enforcement personnel and members of the media, will wear pagers and cell phones strapped to their sides like John Wayne six-shooters.

Embraces will be tighter and last a few seconds longer. Prayers will be heartfelt, passionate and sincere. No restless feet tapping beneath the table, or wandering eyes peeking to see if the steam is still rolling off the mashed potatoes.

This year, Thanksgiving boldly stands as a tangible link to the past. The Pilgrim's celebrated Thanksgiving after a year of devastating hardship, suffering and death. George Washington declared an official day of thanksgiving after the bloody birth of freedom and the adoption of the Constitution. President Madison declared a day of thanksgiving after the War of 1812. President Lincoln proclaimed an annual day of thanks at the end of the Civil War. Thanksgiving is a reminder that counting God's blessings on the heels of suffering is the best way to exercise that muscle called faith.

This year, Thanksgiving will serve as a notary seal affirming truths that became crystal clear in the days following September 11: Family is more important than work. Faith is a necessity, not an accessory. Money can't buy the things that matter most. Heroes aren't Hollywood's pretty people pretending to be other people, but ordinary people who do extraordinary things in the face of danger and fear.

This year, Thanksgiving provides us the opportunity to stand united. We've given thanks privately, individually, but there's something wondrous and marvelous knowing that from east to west and north to south, Americans will give thanks on one day in one voice. E pluribus unum.

Yes, Thanksgiving is different this year. Mingled among the familiar scents and sounds is an unspoken and acute awareness that each day of life dawns by the sheer mercy and grace of G-d. There's a new clarity of vision, an intensity behind the gratitude.

Turn the board my way, Bob. I have an f-u-l to add to that t-h-a-n-k.

JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here.

11/09/01: The Next Stage of Parenting
11/01/01: Of boys and patriotism
10/26/01: College Son the Invisible Man
10/19/01: Out of the closet ... and into the school
10/12/01: A Parent's Guide to Dating
10/05/01: "Taking Care of You"
09/28/01: Time indivisible
09/24/01: Refueling capitalism
09/14/01: A time to mourn
09/07/01: Lack of modesty stirs the troops
08/31/01: Scholarship search an education
08/24/01: The test for parents
08/17/01: Immodest proposals
08/10/01: Trying to R-r-r-re-re-relax
08/03/01: It may be shabby and chic, but it ain't cheap
07/20/01: Bride showered with sage advice
07/13/01: Baby Bear Finds Driving "Just Right"
07/06/01: Pale at the Thought of Bronze
06/29/01: A Dog's Best Friend
06/22/01: Rethinking fatherhood
06/14/01 Don't forget to lock the door
06/07/01 How grandma punishes her kids
06/01/01 Hearing voices
05/25/01 Cyborgs for Better or Worse
05/18/01 The death of Common Sense

© 2001, Lori Borgman