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Give Thanks

 

November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving. We've always looked upon that thought-provoking day in late November as the most American of holidays. Don't you agree? Along with so many of your relatives, friends, neighbors and perhaps a few know-it-all irritating knuckleheads, do you look forward to the relatives and good friends who join together to recognize another good year, another good harvest and the blessings of a benevolent Lord? Is this a celebration you cherish and remember year after year after year?

Ah, but in this autumn of COVID-19, in these days of social distancing, this November of the masks, can we be sure that anything is going right? COVID and other alphabetical elements notwithstanding, this has definitely been a year of different approaches. Do you wear masks everywhere you need to go? Do you forget what mom and dad taught you about proper behavior and obviously but probably rudely walk away from friends and acquaintances that once upon a time you would have greeted with a big hug and perhaps even a tender kiss? Do you ever think back at the way things were before this deadly ugly virus swept across the world and left so many dead or very sick? Do you wonder if anything will ever be normal again?

The most frightening thing about this worldwide disaster is the way it attacks like a thief in the night. One day you're well, the next day you feel a little under, you're in the hospital on the third day and you hope and pray for a miracle. Many survive but COVID-19 is especially tough on the older generation and so far, the only meaningful suggestions are masks and social distancing. Vaccines are on the way say the newspapers and newscasters but way too many of both have abandoned what used to be their heartfelt oath to tell stories straight and always and forever keep opinions and politics out of the flow of public information. That's a sad commentary but even more despondently, the public is reading and hearing way too much of that kind of information filtered and disseminated with every passing hour. Shame, shame, shame on us all!

Remember the first couple of years you spent in school? It's quite likely that mind pictures of Pilgrims and Indians getting together and carving and then consuming huge turkeys became a part of your culture as a six- or seven-year-old. You still remember that, don't you? And you still recall it with every passing Thanksgiving Day, even those including a salute to dear old Uncle Oscar or Aunt Esther who simply were unable to make it through whatever year that may have been. Everyone bowed their heads, put their hands somewhere around where they thought their hearts might have been and remembered what wonderful people they were, how much they loved the family's children and the way they played with the family's dogs.

Even before the United States had a Constitution complete with a Bill of Rights, George Washington and 12,000 or so of his backwoods soldiers suffered through a horrible winter at Valley Forge. But they ... or many of them to be more correct ... survived through those dark days and in the end, the Americans were able to push their British brethren off this part of the continent, first at Cowpens and finally with help from this country's new French allies, at Yorktown. After that, the upstarts got together and authored the most compelling set of human rights conceived by mankind. We live under it yet and hopefully will continue to do that as long as people remain on this planet.

At the moment and in the middle of this time of COVID confusion, it's hard to say what you ought to do to be "safe" in this largely unknown environment. Should Uncle Bolton wear his mask? How far should people be seated from one another? Does anyone in the family own a table long enough to make that work? Here's the Gospel Truth: There are a number of government hacksaws out there laying down harsh rules while silently sending out the message that they really don't have the first idea of what they keep talking about. Use your own judgment.

Practically everyone who reads this newspaper lives in the United States of America. Our country has gone through crises as dangerous as this one. Many of our grandparents were involved in World War Two and that was far from a quick dance through a bouquet of roses. It was hard. It was tough. For millions, it was deadly. Gen. Eisenhower's attack on the French coast was an epic day in the history of this planet. The "Free World," largely consisting of our Americans, the British and the occupied French, prevailed over a heavily armed opponent with a shockingly different concept of how people ought to live and behave. We are all free today because of the determination and the bravery of our ancestors who lived and fought only a couple of generations before us. Remember them on this important holiday.

The bottom line is this: This is your Thanksgiving, a gift from those who helped start and build our wonderful democracy.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

 

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