Thanksgiving, a truly American Holiday and tradition that does however embody a universal sentiment.

“We gather together to ask the Lord’s Blessing” a Dutch hymn we all remember and is associated with Thanksgiving.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever” Psalm 136, in our churches a Biblical recitation from many centuries past.

And the truly American Holiday and tradition, President Abraham Lincoln, Thanksgiving Proclamation October 3, 1863: “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States and also those who are at sea and also those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens”

We have much to give thanks for in Southport. A pandemic rages yet we are more than surviving as our city adapts and our businesses and restaurants, our churches and library are open with the appropriate limitations. If you really want to make a difference this Thanksgiving, stay home, gather with only those that you live with or see frequently, physical distance when you are together, facial covering when appropriate, and just make good decisions, especially about facial covering, distancing and washing your hands/ hand sanitizer when you are out shopping or out among other people. If weather permitting, and you do have neighbors or friends over, outside is better.

Be innovative and creative in protecting each other. Be reflective of the over 250,000 who have lost their lives to the pandemic and remember those who we miss and who are not with us here on earth and those who have made the decision not to travel. It is not “over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go “this year. I envision this time next year in 2021 to be much different and much better. And remember those who are less fortunate by donating to the food bank of your choice or programs through your church, not only for Thanksgiving, but continue to do so throughout the year. And we remember our men and women in the military, who are stationed around the world, and do not forget our first responders, police, fire, and rescue, and the doctors, nurses, and hospital staff, who are not home but are with their work family, on duty this Thanksgiving.

We all have so much to be grateful for, if you have good health, you are already blessed. We all are thankful for our family, our friends, our neighbors and neighborhood, the plentiful harvest that is Southport. I want to thank all the City Employees of Southport for their continued work and dedication, my thanks to the Board of Aldermen, the City Manager and City Attorney, for their collaboration and guidance in city endeavors, and I want to thank every citizen who has supported our efforts in moving our city forward.

The First Lady and I wish you all a very blessed, safe, and Happy Thanksgiving. I want to thank Tish for her service to our city and to all who volunteer in service to our city and community and I am thankful to her for being a partner in this mayoral endeavor in which I am so grateful to be serving as your Mayor. In that regard, we want to invite you to the virtual tree lighting that will take place on the Friday after Thanksgiving, November 27th at 6:00 p.m.,, as we continue our Thanksgiving celebration weekend and begin the glorious season of Christmas. I assure you that this will not interfere with the Notre Dame versus UNC football game in Chapel Hill and football fans, can easily sign on to the city website and enjoy this festive Christmas holiday tradition.

Joe Pat Hatem, MD, MPH

Mayor of the City of Southport