Merlin Law Group is co-counsel with a very fine San Francisco based law firm, Levin Simes. We filed a wildfire lawsuit on behalf of a vineyard yesterday. It is hard to describe the devastation and magnitude of these fires, but our complaint noted in part:
The North Bay Fires are some of the most destructive fires in California’s history. In just a week, the fires caused the deaths of at least 43 people, displaced about 100,00 people who were forced to leave their homes and search for safety, burned over 200,000 acres and destroyed at least 8,000 homes and buildings. In particular, the Tubbs fire destroyed approximately five percent of Santa Rosa’s housing stock, burned over 36,000 acres across two counties and killed at least 19 individuals.
While thinking about this lawsuit, I am stunned over the breadth of destruction that has occurred across our country over the past four months. We have cases as far east as the Virgin Islands. We are about to begin a huge undertaking in Puerto Rico where estimates of hurricane damage approach $65 billion. Florida and Texas are recovering from hurricane and flood damage. Indeed, the Merlin Law Group office in Houston was shut down for two weeks because we were flooded. Finally, our California brothers and sisters just suffered a fire catastrophe which is off the charts.
While most Americans are worried about a Thanksgiving Day disaster happening in their kitchens, I know that I am not the only one wondering how so many physical disasters have happened in such a short period of time. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that during the first nine months of 2017, the United States experienced fifteen separate billion-dollar weather disasters, tying 2011 for the most ever during the first nine months. 2017’s disasters included two floods, a freeze, seven severe storms, three hurricanes, a drought and multiple wildfires.
Thanksgiving Day is a day to reflect on life, give thanks, and be grateful for withstanding life’s traumatic events. Significant psychological trauma is placed on those affected by disasters and positive psychology research teaches us that “gratefulness” eventually helps those suffering from disasters.
So, please join me today giving thanks and being grateful for everything positive in our lives. These disasters will eventually pass and we will overcome their hardships.
Here is a little Thanksgiving Day history from History.com:
Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.
In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.