ANNAPOLIS – Prominent Marylanders are grateful for family, friends and even football during this holiday season, marred by the memory of many lives lost in the terrorist attacks just two months ago.
Preparing for a major bowl game has been anything but the norm in recent memory for the Maryland Terrapins football team. But after the Terps clinched the Atlantic Coast Conference title Saturday for the first time since 1985, first-year coach Ralph Friedgen is offering thanks to the gridiron and all things pigskin.
“I am thankful for the opportunity I have been given to coach my alma mater. I am thankful for the season we have had, the resurgence of Maryland football and the fact that the university community is getting behind our program.”
As the football season winds down, Maryland’s high-powered men’s basketball team is just getting underway, ranked sixth in the country by the Associated Press. Coach Gary Williams, who led his team to last year’s Final Four, is grateful the tornado that struck campus Sept. 24 didn’t do more damage.
“I am thankful that my family is healthy, that my team is healthy, and especially on our campus that we survived the tornado and avoided more significant injuries and damage.”
Two students were killed on the College Park campus and a firefighter later died as a result of the tornado.
Maryland’s congressional delegation reflects the mixed feelings of many Americans as holiday cheer is tempered by lingering uncertainty.
“I am thankful for my health and the health of my children,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville. “I’m just very happy that I have a great life and my children do, too.”
On the other hand, Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Baltimore, cannot ignore the impact of the anthrax scare on Capitol Hill.
“I give thanks for my Senate staff who have shown an overwhelming degree of stamina, endurance, commitment and hard work during this trying time when we have been dislocated from my Hart Office Building,” Sarbanes said.
“I also want to express my thoughts and prayers to those who lost their loved ones following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Words alone cannot comfort them in their time of loss, but I wish them a holiday full of warm memories during these trying times.”
Gov. Parris N. Glendening, noting Marylanders’ willingness to give of themselves, whether it be donations of blood or money, said that he is most grateful for the state’s citizenry.
“In a time when many new, different and difficult things are being asked of Marylanders, their response throughout has been exemplary, making this one of the most important Thanksgivings we will have.”