Combat terror with gratitude and be thankful

The world rocked last week with news of terror attacks in Beruit, Syria, Iraq, and Paris. 

Extend the dates to the last two weeks, that litany continues, adding Russia and Nigeria. 

People are frightened, feeling embattled, not understanding who the enemy is and therefore lashing out. 

Some of the backlash against immigrants stems from that terror of the unknown, but when we focus on our fear, we forget a couple of important things. 

One, most of us in the United States come from immigrant stock, and two, many of our ancestors were fleeing religious persecution. 

Just because the terrorists say they represent Islam doesn’t mean all Muslims agree with their actions. 

Experts say this is not a war on the West, it’s a war within Islam itself.

Nevertheless, the attacks on Paris hit us here at The Chart hard, because many of us have visited the City of Light to study global journalism. 

We’ve listened to war correspondents, photojournalists, people in NGOs working to change the world for the better. 

We fell in love with the Louvre, the West Bank, the Eiffel Tower, coffee, crème brûlêe and escargot. We made friends. 

It was a relief to have access to social media to learn that our distant friends were okay, if scared. 

The whole mess sort of made us rethink our American tradition of Thanksgiving as a food, football and shopping festival. 

What if, instead of rushing to the store and planning our Christmas shopping, we went back to focusing on the meaning of the season—the attitude of gratitude that crosses all cultural, political and religious boundaries?

We’re doing just that over the next week. We won’t have a print edition (the next one hits the stands Dec. 4), but we invite you to visit our website to see what we’re thankful for, and to check in on Facebook with your own gratitude lists. 

Our lists, like many of yours, start with gratitude for family and friends, but we are also very aware of the privileges we enjoy as citizens of America. 

We have the opportunity to advance in our education and our chosen careers, to worship however we please—or even if we choose not to. 

We have the opportunity to shape our government by voting. We can disagree with that government without having to flee from our homes in fear of our lives. 

This Thanksgiving, let’s not forget we are so blessed to have more than we need. 

And let’s think about how we can share that blessing with the rest of the world.