South Mississippi Especially Thankful - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippi Especially Thankful

"One, two, three," the smiling dad counted, before launching his child down the sliding bar ride at Mirimar Park.

It's among a dozen or so playgrounds built by Hurricane Katrina volunteers.

The place designed as a happy sanctuary for children was certainly providing one Thanksgiving day afternoon.

"Say cheese!" Atlanta visitor Chevette Daniels coaxed her young son, clutching a digital camera and trying to keep up with the youngster's energy.

She says she's especially thankful, after seeing Katrina destruction all around.

"Thankful for life. Just looking at the buildings here. And the devastation that happened. Just being thankful for life and thankful for my family," said Daniels.

Mike Fitzgerald said this sunny Thursday was the perfect day for bringing kids to the park. He reflected on his many blessings on Thanksgiving.

"Oh, family mostly. And just happiness. Healthiness," he said.

"She's been asking all day to come to the park. She loves the park," said a Memphis mom, trying to keep both eyes on her playful toddler.

Mom was impressed when she noticed that volunteers built the park.

"Yes, I saw the sign over there. I think that's very nice. Very nice to do something like that for the kids," she said.

We found more kids having fun just a few miles away in a FEMA trailer park. Youngsters who've no doubt endured some difficult days since the storm, still have a heart for this holiday.

"I'm thankful for my family to get together," said a nine year old boy, "And I'm thankful for the food," he quickly added.

"I think I'm thankful for the food," said another boy, "Yeah, and I'm thankful for God, 'cause he gave us all of it."

A pickup game of hoop brings chatter and laughter, even amid rows of temporary homes for the holiday.

Still, the children understand the importance of family this holiday.

"Thankful that my Auntie and them got together for Thanksgiving. I'm thankful that my grandpa and grandma is alright and everything," said a fifth grade boy.

The children may or may not remember Thanksgiving Day in a FEMA Park. But they haven't lost sight of the celebration.

By Steve Phillips

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