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  November 21, 2004

Thanksgiving: A Time to Be Thankful and to Think about Those who Help Make New York City Just a Little Better Every Day

By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

Thursday is Thanksgiving. Besides giving us a short workweek, for which a lot of people "give thanks," this is also a time for New Yorkers to stop and think about just how fortunate we are. Let's be especially thankful that we live in a city of 8 million people where, every day, our neighbors demonstrate the depth and generosity of the human spirit.

Last week, I helped honor City Sanitation workers who had gone above and beyond the call of duty in their work. Two of them, Pedro Solla (Soe-lah) and Vernon Maynard, received awards for rushing from a vacant lot they were cleaning to rescue people from a house fire in Harlem. They are everyday New Yorkers who really rose to the occasion, and showed extraordinary compassion and bravery when it was needed most. There are plenty of other New Yorkers who go the extra mile to look out for the rest of us.

Just within the past week...

There was Benjamin Adjepong (Ad-jah-pong) from the Bronx, who found more than $6,000 in cash in the back of his cab, but did not hesitate to turn the money in...

There was Susan Atlan, who was recognized by her neighbors for volunteering at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Staten Island - and when she's not there, helping out at Meals on Wheels - and when she's not there... at the American Cancer Society.

There was Bob Beamon, the legendary Olympic champion from Queens, who has now devoted himself to helping New York make huge leaps in our bid to host the 2012 Summer Games...

And there was Saul Bruckner, who created the pioneering Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn that has put thousands of young people on the path to successful careers, who just retired after 27 years as its principal.

I've talked about six New Yorkers... but I could have told you about six hundred, or six thousand... who represent the strong character and generous spirit that define our city.

So let's all be thankful that we live in a great city in a free nation.

A city where the police department continues to drive crime down to historic lows... where our streets are cleaner than they've been in more than 30 years... where our schools are finally turning the corner and giving our children the education they need and deserve... and where our economy is growing again, with unemployment the lowest it's been since before 9/11. Nearly 37,000 more New Yorkers have private sector jobs today than a year ago. I know that means a lot to them and their families, especially during this holiday season. Those are all good reasons for thanksgiving, and also for being confident that New York's best days are still to come.