Thanksgiving is a time for friends and family to reflect on that for which they should be grateful. This starts with the many blessings we have today in this great country thanks to the many who built it and sacrificed to keep it great. We also enjoy the bounty of plentiful food and must think about those who may have less.
Because I sense a little anxiety this Thanksgiving about life in the world today, I wanted to share some data to put things into context. We are living in a very good time and if we, at Meridian and elsewhere, succeed in honoring our values and engaging the world, it will only get better. It is easy to get discouraged, but consider these facts:
During the London Blitz, the civilian population had over 18,000 bombs dropped on them. During one period there were 57 consecutive nights of bombing raids by the Luftwaffe. How did they react? The pulled together and carried on. There have even been reports that people got calmer, more resolute, and developed closer relationships between classes and communities. Of course, as you know, they prevailed.
During World War II there were over 300,000 Americans who lost their lives and an estimated 10 million in the Soviet Union (during a five year period). We should never forget the over 6 million Jews who lost their lives in the Holocaust. Never again. This was a very bad period in history and not that long ago. Our parents and grandparents witnessed these events or lost their lives. We will withstand and prevail in any situation just as the greatest generation did, who went on to build the strongest economy in the world after fighting a war.
In 1961, there were only 36 democracies in the world; today there are nearly 120.
In 1975, 49,000 people died from Polio. In 2015, that number was 56. Small Pox has been virtually eradicated which claimed the lives of millions.
Deaths from HIV/AIDS related causes decreased by 40% from 2005 to 20015.
Over 8 million people fly every day, and last year was the safest in aviation history despite what you read in the news.
In 1970, there were 52,000 auto related fatalities in America compared to 32,000 today. That is a major drop, but also shows you where real everyday risk comes from – not terrorism.
In 1900, the average U.S. life expectancy was 48 for a male and 51 for a female; today they are 77 and 81 respectively.
The point of this is to show that in this hyper connected world we live in – everything is driven by the 24 hour news cycle. Yes, we face a threat from those who hate our values and the West, but reflect on how grateful we should be to be alive today.
We live in the greatest country at a historically safe and prosperous period. Be thankful! Enjoy and reflect on out many blessings and keep things in perspective. There will be challenges – there always are – but remember to enjoy the here and the now.