This time of year, we try to count our blessings. Of course, faith, family and friends come first. No different this year, but I think I will add my home state of Alabama near the top of the list. After all the subject is topical, because Dec. 4 marks the 200th anniversary of statehood for the “Yellowhammer State.”

Remember in elementary school when we were told that Alabama had 10 percent of the nation’s natural resources? I do not know about that, but I do know that our state has a rare amount of iron ore and coal in the Birmingham area.

And farmers enjoy three growing seasons instead of two with abundant sunshine and rainfall. When they have harvested their crops, Alabama farmers have the deep-water port at Mobile from where they can be exported — a port that soon will undergo a major dredging project.

And ample natural inland waterways to ship goods and provide some cheap, clean energy.

Alabama also has majestic mountains at the foothills of the Appalachians in the Tennessee Valley. If you have ever awed at the breath-taking scenic beauty of Lake Guntersville State Park, you understand.

I know of no other state that can couple that mountain splendor to the north with sugar white beaches to the south like we have along Alabama’s Gulf Coast at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Between mountains and beaches, I personally favor the beach. Just to breath the fresh salt air does wonders for me.

Of course, Alabama also has Auburn, which is such a great place to live and raise a family. Certainly, I am thankful this year, as every year, to live in Auburn.

But the greatest natural resource Alabama has is its people — some of the greatest on earth.

For a century or longer, especially in the latter half of the 20th century, every meaningful decision we made was done at least in part on the basis of race. I am proud we are finally putting the race issue behind us and moving forward. Because when we act like the best, we are the best and we have a lot to be thankful for here in Alabama.

Retired Auburn Attorney Don Eddins is publisher of The Auburn Villager newspaper and the online publication, auburnvillager.com. Before going into law, he was state Capitol reporter for The Huntsville Times and state editor for The Columbus Ledger. In college, he was sports editor of The Auburn Plainsman. Email him at doneddins@auburnlaw.us.

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