We will do this — as we have been doing it — by finding ways to make farmland more productive than could have been imagined a few generations ago. We will do this — as we have been doing it — through science, technology, engineering, innovation, and invention. We will do this — as we ought to be doing and with much greater urgency — by developing alternative transportation fuels that are not in the possession of despotic regimes seeking to defeat and dominate us.
We live in uncertain times. In the early 20th century, terrorism meant a bomb thrown into a carriage. Today, it means a passenger jet slammed into a skyscraper. Tomorrow it could mean the detonation of nuclear devices, the use of biological weapons to spread dread diseases, or even cyber attacks on our electronic infrastructure.
In the past, we fought godless enemies who killed without remorse. What could be worse than that? An enemy who believes the God he worships commands him to slaughter “infidels,” an enemy who loves death — his own and even that of his children. If that is not evil, nothing is.
Should we be thankful for this enemy and this war? No, but perhaps we can be thankful for the fact — and I believe it is a fact — that we Americans, most of us, or at least enough of us, are equal to the challenge we face. In giving gratitude we also accept obligation. “As much has been given us, much will be expected from us,” Teddy Roosevelt once said. “True homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds. ”
So enjoy the quintessentially American folk festival of Thanksgiving. Carve that turkey, spoon that cranberry sauce, slice that pumpkin pie. Tell those gathered round the hearth what you’re thankful for and what you’re willing to do to protect the blessings of liberty bestowed by the Creator and defended by the bravest among us. And, when the holiday is over, get back to work — because there’s a lot of work that we Americans need to do.
— Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and Islamism.