Out with the old, in with the new…Welcome 2004!

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003

As we close out 2003, we look back and marvel at all that changed for us as a community, state, nation and world in the last 365 days.

Locally, we saw an economic boom with the announcement that we have two new industries coming in to support the Hyundai plant in Hope Hull.

We became more of a "melting pot" as we learned about our new neighbors and they learned about us.

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Our existing industries remained strong and worked so much harder to stay fiscally strong.

Other new and existing businesses came in or expanded.

We watched as one governor left office under a cloud of mystery while Bob Riley promised us a brand new day.

Then in that brand new day, Gov. Riley proposed the most comprehensive tax increase in the state's history.

However, the people spoke and the tax measure failed.

The people wanted more accountability in state government and Riley promised it would happen.

Nationally, we watched once again in horror as American astronauts died while returning from the "final frontier."

The important thing is that we, as Americans, should support NASA.

If not, these brave men and women died in vain.

We watched this year as California chose another movie star to run the state.

We watched as millions sat in the dark in the northeast.

We have sent our sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers off to war once again with a cruel dictator and watched as many triumphantly returned home. Sadly, many did not.

Our biggest feat this year for America has to be the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Our president went over with an agenda of doing nothing less than removing him from power, and that is what America did.

Today, the world is a bit safer with him behind bars.

Finally, we have lost some important people in the world.

Their lives are well documented through their body of works.

We would be remise if we said nothing of the approximately 470 American troops who died in Iraq.

We should all take time this New Year's Day to remember these men and women.

We should remember that they each had a name, had families who loved them dearly.

They should not be forgotten and we should remember that they died serving the needs of a grateful nation.

But that is only a footnote to their life story, now never to be told.

Yes, looking back, 2003 A.D. was indeed, a remarkable year.

Now we look forward to what the next year will bring.

We face new challenges, new adventures.

There will be disappointments but we have to remember that those disappointments make us stronger as a community, state, nation and world.

The important thing to remember is that we should face it all with what we have and that is courage and no fear of the unknown.