Liberty leads way as America offers thanks

War on Terrorism: Thanksgiving
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The Independent US

THANKSGIVING DAY in America began in just the way it has for decades – with an eruption of colour, pizzazz and cheesy commercialism in the canyons of Manhattan that is otherwise known as the Macy's Day Parade. And it ended, as always, with gastric bloat.

Thanksgiving Day in America began in just the way it has for decades – with an eruption of colour, pizzazz and cheesy commercialism in the canyons of Manhattan that is otherwise known as the Macy's Day Parade. And it ended, as always, with gastric bloat.

Patriotism played a more explicit part than usual. The parade, broadcast live nationwide, was led by a Statue of Liberty float, featuring 50 state flags. Uncle Sam, head to toe in stars and stripes, waved to thousands of spectators.

But as families across America sat at table for the traditional dinner of turkey and pumpkin pie, the mood was surely a little different from recent years. For many, the giving of thanks was more heartfelt and more emotional. Thanks for surviving 11 September. Thanks to New York's firemen and police. Thanks to America's soldiers.

"On this Thanksgiving stained with sorrow, we must cherish the people we love and the great, tough city in which we love," Pete Hamill wrote in the Daily News. "There will be empty chairs at too many New York tables today. There are too many wounds that might never heal. But we who live can still whisper our thanks".

The Macy's Parade, with its marching bands and giant balloons swaying in the breeze, offered another chance for New York to show off its return to civic normality. Security was tight but fairly discreet, with some police officers dressing up in festive costume.

Frank Ray, an off-duty police officer who watched with his family, said: "With all the things going on, this parade is really great for the city. It shows the world our resolve and our feeling for life."

Rudolph Giuliani, the Mayor of New York, who is credited with keeping morale so high after 11 September, boarded one float and basked in chants of "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!"

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