Tennessee's able and enthusiastic Gov. Bill Haslam honored our wonderful people and the city of Chattanooga on Wednesday, as he presented an upbeat keynote address during the annual meeting of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.
Fortunately, there is much to praise, and to give thanks for, in our fabulous and ever-improving community. That's due in large part to the fact that we have so many unselfish and determined residents, as well as dedicated leaders, pressing Chattanooga forward.
The meeting of the Chamber of Commerce attracted many hundreds of those residents to a huge hall at the Chattanooga Convention Center. There was a spirit of enthusiasm and good will as Chamber members reviewed a year of great economic, industrial and civic progress - progress that has continued despite the economic difficulties in much of our country.
And why shouldn't we feel encouraged?
Look around. Chattanooga is blessed not only with big new development from companies such as Volkswagen, but with smaller though still important investments by a range of other companies. Meanwhile, personal income in Chattanooga is growing almost twice as fast as it is growing nationally. And, of course, we are blessed with intangible benefits such as superlative natural beauty and opportunities for outdoor recreation.
It's perfectly understandable that we would be excited about our community's prospects, and that excitement was on ample display Wednesday.
Our country and members of our military services were honored by the presentation of the flag by members of the Tennessee Army National Guard. Our national anthem was sung by Lon Eldridge, Gavin Cross and Stacy Carmosino. The optimistic spirit was enhanced by Chamber President Tom Edd Wilson and 2010-11 board Chairman Ron Harr. Mike St. Charles is the Chamber chairman for 2011-12.
From the beginning to the end of the meeting, there was the kind of zeal that is characteristic of our great community. Surely more economic and community advances are ahead, owing to good leadership and citizen support.
Chattanooga is a happy, progress-minded city that is on the move toward even bigger and better accomplishments.
We have fine people who are making admirable contributions for the future benefit of all of us and our entire region. That is something of which we can all be proud.