Thursday is Thanksgiving, a time when family and friends come together to celebrate and give thanks for the blessings of the previous year.
Many of us have much to be grateful for. Just two months ago, thousands of people in the 11th Congressional District suffered during some of the worst flooding in regional history. I toured entire neighborhoods that were devastated by high water. I met with homeowners who lost everything.
But in the midst of tragedy, miracles emerged. In Monroe County, I met with a family whose house was crushed by a tree blown over by the winds of Hurricane Irene. The massive branch toppled toward an occupied room; yet, it stopped -- seemingly for no reason -- before it struck anyone inside. In Luzerne County, the hard work of volunteers secured a failing levee before the Susquehanna River could break through it. These volunteers -- who worked at great personal risk -- might have saved thousands of homes from being inundated by 40 feet of raging river water. Many lives may have been saved.
There was destruction, yes. There was loss. But, there are reasons for us to be thankful.
We can be thankful for the spirit of camaraderie and support we experienced after the waters subsided and the winds died down. Communities came together to help each other. Neighbors united. While the epic flooding brought about the worst times in people's lives, it also brought out the best in us. It is that sense of unity that Speaker of the House John Boehner saw when he toured flood damage and recovery efforts in Bloomsburg on November 14.
It is that sense of unity that I am most thankful for this holiday.
On behalf of my wife and family, I wish you and your family a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
Very truly yours,