11/21/07 — An abundance: Reasons to give thanks can be found all around us

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An abundance: Reasons to give thanks can be found all around us

Thanksgiving Day is full of family, turkey and, for some, football. It is a day when we take time off from work to remember what — and who — is important to us.

And with all the hustle and bustle of getting ready for the holidays and the inevitable stress that goes along with traveling to see family and cooking dinner for a crowd, we might tend to forget what we are supposed to be doing in the first place — counting our blessings.

The first round is the obvious. Those of us who have our families around us should be thankful that they are able to gather together again.

Those who have recently lost someone special should remember the blessing of having known them — and being able to share past holidays with them. Keeping them with you at the holidays takes little more than a few favorite old pictures and a heart full of memories. A remembered smile can last a lifetime.

We should also be thankful for the community in which we live. There are more big hearts and generous spirits per capita in Wayne County than in many communities across this state and nation. Our diversity makes us strong, and our willingness to accept one another — no matter where we call home — is what makes this a great place for anyone to live.

And when one of us needs a helping hand, this community steps right up to the plate. Just look at how little prompting it takes to get Wayne County residents to donate when there is a need. Look at how little time is takes for those to offer a kind word or a smile to those having a bad day. And when a neighbor is in trouble, whether it be a cup of sugar or much more, they take the steps across the street to lend that little extra support.

There are many stories of compassion that are recounted here each year, and hundreds more that are never told. A wise man once said that it is what you do when no one is watching that shows your true character. There are many, many people here who fit that bill.

We should be thankful for our possibilities. This community has only begun to become what it has the potential to be. With honest and dedicated leaders and a whole slew of volunteers willing to create a bright future, there is little that this county and Goldsboro cannot accomplish. That sense of optimism is another reason to feel blessed this holiday season.

And, as if that weren’t enough, we should be thankful for our heroes — past and present. Wayne County has the opportunity every day to see firsthand the bravery and determination of the men and women who have served and are serving in the U.S. Air Force. Some of them have chosen to make their homes here after a career of service, while others are just starting to serve their nation. All of them give us a daily reason to remember that protecting freedom takes the courage of a few, but the commitment of many. We should be thankful today that they have chosen to make this their home — and that they have decided to protect us and the nation we love.

And that brings us to perhaps one of the most important and most often set aside blessings.

We should be proud to be part of a nation that answers the call of duty at home and abroad and that stands tall for the freedom that should belong not only to its citizens, but to thousands of other families around the world.

We might not always be right, and we might not always execute our missions with the precision we would like, but the United States does not shirk duty when it calls. We should feel blessed today to be in a country that allows us to speak freely, act bravely, worship as we choose and live our lives with courage and conviction.

Today, we should be proud to be in Wayne County.

We should be proud to be Americans.

Enjoy today. Hold your family close.

There are fathers who can’t be with their sons. There are daughters who can’t be with their mothers.

Count your blessings.

Don’t eat too much.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us here to all of you — at home and abroad.

Published in Editorials on November 21, 2007 7:32 PM