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Votes

A Day of Thanksgiving and Unity

More than 750 Alexandrians helped Mayor William D. Euille fulfill a campaign promise by attending a prayer breakfast on the day before Thanksgiving.

"I want my fellow citizens to visualize at this prayer breakfast the reality of my campaign commitment to One Alexandria, our beautiful city,” Euille said. “We are coming together across economic, age, political, racial and community lines – diversity in one room. We are meeting new neighbors, sharing a meal and touching hands across the gaps that normally divide us.”

Shortly after his election last May, Euille pledged to hold just such a prayer breakfast. “When we began planning this event, I set as a goal having around 200 people attend,” he said. “We had to turn people away the day before the event because we just couldn’t accommodate more people in one room. Next year it will be even bigger.”

The event brought together Baptists, baha’is, Catholics, Episcopalians, Jews, Methodists, Muslims and others to offer prayers for the city. There were prayers for diversity, unity, community, youth, family and leadership. The committee that organized the event was as diverse as those who attended.

“We have been working very hard on this event for the past several months and it is successful beyond our wildest dreams,” said former city manager Vola Lawson, a member of the organizing committee. “All of the work was certainly worth it.”

IN ADDITION TO the unity prayers, Paul Glist, from the Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Alexandria, gave a charge to the mayor and Rabbi Jack Moline from Agudas Achim Hebrew Congregation, gave a charge to the city. “There are three words that speak volumes about our common legacy,” Moline said. “They are the three words that introduce the Constitution of the United States of America: We the people.

“We the people have celebrated our leaders who echo that singular voice and we the people have time and time again rejected those who would set white against black, rich against poor, one ethnicity against another. And we have done it without denying the unique contribution that white and black, rich and poor, ethnic, religious and social identities make to that voice…

“How shall we charge the city as we gather for prayer and reflection on the eve of Thanksgiving, 2003? With the same three words that charged our nation and the vision that preceded and followed those three words…

“We the people of Alexandria, Virginia, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity…”