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Time to put trials, troubles of a hard year behind us
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Forsyth County News
In just a handful of days, we will say goodbye to 2009 and the single-digit years of the still-new century. For most of us, the act of doing so will include a certain air of “good riddance.”

To say that it has not been a good year is an understatement of some significant magnitude.

It was a year in which the winds of economic fortune favored few in the United States. Double-digit unemployment, record numbers of foreclosures, bank failures, corporate bailouts, bankruptices, loss of reputation on the world’s financial stage. Name it, and if the end result was negative, there was a good chance it happened in the past year.

But the financial pages weren’t the only ones filled with news of doom and gloom. Swine flu swept through the nation even as elected officials in Washington debated for months the need, or lack thereof, for massive health care reform.

With a new presidential administration, there was no shortage of political debate and rhetoric, much of it partisan and pointless, on a host of major issues. Climate change, cap-and-trade and considerable angst over the nation’s role in the world were hot topics in the corridors of power.

Internationally, the year saw us remain at war on two different fronts, in Iraq and Afghanistan, with too many American lives being lost.

Even the weather seemed to be against us in 2009, with drenching rains causing floods and leaving the local populace frequently soaked, sodden and sullen as a result.

The past 12 months have had it all — political strife, economic woe, war and rumors of war.

And we’ve survived it all.

In fact, there are silver linings peeping through a few of those dark clouds.

There is an emerging faint glimmer of hope that suggests the economy may be starting to rebound. Banks failed, but their failures were handled in a controlled environment and weren’t the disasters they might have been. Some of the companies on the receiving end of bailouts are poised to repay their loans.

The swine flu, though dangerous, has not been the epidemic we were led to expect. The most troublesome elements of the original health care debate were eliminated due to the pressure of public opinion. The conflict in Iraq shows signs of stabilizing; a surge in Afghanistan may have the same result. There was no major terrorist attack on the U.S.

The nation may have lost some of its international clout, but it’s still the world power other countries dream of being.

And all that rain washed away two years of drought and concerns over availability of water.

Few of us will be sad to see the final page pulled from the calendar of 2009, but if our challenges truly do make us stronger, we should be muscle bound as we welcome in another new year.