2020 has clearly been a heartbreaking year in the history of our country, as well as throughout the world, as we faced Covid-19 the invisible enemy. As a result, over two hundred thousand American lives were taken from us as well as millions of Americans being forced to battle this enemy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who have lost loved ones as well as those who have and are still battling this enemy, most of whom have successfully recovered. At the same time, to mitigate this enemy, we were forced to shut down one of the most successful economies in the history of our country and the world. With this, more than 30 million Americans became unemployed and hundreds of thousands of businesses were closed. The percentages of these statistics exceed that of the Great Depression of 1929. One day in March we were the strongest economy in the world and the next day we were facing an economy representative of a depression era. From both business and personal perspectives, these have clearly been challenging times to all of us and unfortunately to some more than others.
What was never allowed to be ignored is the fact that we are Americans. We are strong, we are resilient, we are hopeful, and we have navigated successfully through many crises and tough times in our history and most of our lifetimes. Viruses, world wars, attacks on our homeland and we have always returned to the strength that represents the greatness of America. That strength is the American people armed with hope, motivation, and determination to realize and enjoy greatness once again. Today we are successfully on the road back to that realization.
As we near the final days of 2020 and look back at the tragedy of this year, we will remember that this is just one of many tragic years we have endured since our declaration of independence in 1776. We will remember that nothing in the past 244 years has stopped us from moving forward and becoming the greatest country in the world and nothing will stop us now.
As a business community we will continue to provide our valuable products and services to the people of this great community. We will continue to innovate and provide products and services of the highest quality and technological design to meet the growing needs of the people we serve. So, welcome 2021 with the determination to make it a great year where you can look back and comment, even the tragedy of 2020 could not stop us or deter us from moving forward successfully.
God bless the North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce and God bless the United States of America.