We just completed a raucous and divisive political campaign that seemed to split our nation in half. Yet tomorrow we gather together in the singularly most accepted holiday among our diverse population — a day to offer thanks for the blessings of our lives and liberties. It is time, however fleeting, set aside to highlight our collective gifts and downplay our differences.
A part of my circle of family and friends will gather tomorrow like millions of my fellow Americans. I am thankful for so many things including:
That raucous political system that is neither for the weak nor the uncommitted and ultimately, whether we agree with the outcomes or not, ensures the people’s will is heard. And for politicians. I’m thankful they want their jobs. Without these dedicated people we have anarchy.
And for our founding fathers that put aside most of their personal desires and risked their "lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor" for the benefit of America’s liberty. For free enterprise. For the rule of informed law vice ignorant opinion.
For the wisdom of our Constitution. For that in America we utter oaths not to a person but to those values of liberty and law enshrined in that timeless document.
For the unique American freedom to be and achieve who and what we want. For the fact that a black man who a mere 160 years ago might have been a slave instead today is our 44th president.
For the spirit of individualism that still thrives in America, even as we collectively come together when required "one nation under God." That our nation’s motto remains "In God We Trust" and that we are still the most freely religious nation on earth.
For the diversity of America that makes us stronger and ensures a mosaic of ideas, beliefs, art and music. For Beethoven, Vivaldi, and Mozart and the scores of composers, musicians, orchestras, and bands who brought us and continue to bring us classic and timeless music that both soothes and energizes our souls.
For our lack of perfection. For all our own personal mistakes and flaws and those of our nation, we grow stronger and are better because of our blunders more so than from our triumphs.
For the Marines, Army, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Central Intelligence and Drug Enforcement Agencies, FBI, Border Patrol, police officers and other law enforcement personnel, firefighters and all those willing to place themselves in harm’s way to protect us and our way of life.
For mothers and fathers who put aside, often forever, their own personal desires and dreams to raise America’s next generation to productive adulthood. For the discipline of fathers, the tenderness of mothers, the friendship of brothers and sisters, and for the romantic love of spouses. For the warm embrace of our families, friends and neigbors.
For all the women of the world who add beauty, grace, tenderness, and compassion to our lives, are naturally endowed with a desire to deal in consensus rather than conflict, and teach us that a strong heart ultimately wins over brawn and even brain.
For the janitors, hotel cleaning staffs, and rest room cleaners, fast food servers, clerks, plumbers, auto mechanics, electricians, garbage men, dishwashers and waitresses, disabled and elderly care givers, farmers, fruit and vegetable pickers and poultry workers, construction workers, nurses, teachers, air traffic controllers, and all those unheralded (and often underpaid and overworked) amongst us who enrich and ease our lives.
For the laughter and innocence of children.
For small-town newspapers that continue to thrive against the assault of the Internet due to the leadership, work ethic, and skills of very small staffs of dedicated publishers, editors, writers, and photographers who care about their communities.
For dogs and their unfailing loyalty, and blindness to our flaws. For dogwood trees and the show they put on twice a year: bright red now — white flowers peeking from forest edge in the spring.
For the animals that sacrifice their lives for our sustenance.
For sunrises that illuminate first the tops of trees slowly moving down to light the base of their trunks. For full moons whose light glitters off the water’s surface like a million diamonds.
For other things that are free yet priceless like fresh air, sunshine, a gentle spring rain, roadside wildflowers, and the crackling, smoky warmth of a wood fire.
For the ticking of clocks that sound the passing seconds of our lives, each second irreplaceable and never to be relived. For the wisdom of my favorite poem (author unknown):
"The clock of life is wound but once.
Now is the only time you own.
So live, love, toil with a will.
Place no faith in time.
For the clock may soon be still."
Barry Fetzer is a columnist for the Havelock News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.