Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving

A time to be thankful
Robert A. Hall

For many, this is a tough Thanksgiving, with a tough Christmas to follow. But most of us have much more to be thankful for, than to regret.

I’m thankful to have been born in the United States, during the days of the American Republic, when economic freedom gave me the opportunity to make a comfortable living, and political freedom the chance to enjoy it, unmolested by the heavy hand of government. History teaches us the American Republic won’t last forever, that freedom isn’t eternal, but she was wonderful while she was here, and gave tens of millions a great life.

I’m thankful to live in a country that just had a revolution, replacing one party with another, and the streets aren’t full of tanks, the jails aren’t full of the losers, and them morgues aren’t full of the innocent caught in the crossfire.

I thank God I live in a country where we can worship, or not, as we choose, and I pray to preserve her from those who believe an evil deity commands them to bring all humanity under their religion, by the sword if necessary.

I’m thankful to have been born into a family that taught me both the value of work and to love my country. That didn’t take with everyone, but those lessons still guide my life.

I’m thankful that my wife and I have jobs in this troubled economy, and that we work for some of the best, most giving professionals you could find anywhere, orthopaedic surgeons. I’m thankful that, at 62, I’ve been constantly employed since I was 18, except for one six-month period between jobs, and one semester in college.

I’m thankful for the associations that employed me as their executive over the past 26 years. By luck or skill, all were stronger when I left than when I arrived, and I learned much at every one.

I’m thankful that I learned to live within my means, and am not in debt at a time when the credit crunch from over-extended people and feckless businesses is bring great trouble to our country.

I’m thankful that the people of the Third Worcester District, albeit by a slim 9-vote margin, gave me the privilege at age 26 to serve as their state senator. That was a great ten years, and a priceless education.

I’m thankful I had the opportunity to get a decent education, little as I valued it before I got to college.

I’m thankful that I learned to love reading and to love history and poetry. I think my biggest regret at death will be all the unread history books. (Gimmie another shot doc, I’ve only got two chapters to go!)

I’m thankful I’ve had the chance to travel, to see other countries I loved, like Scotland, and those as well where the people didn’t enjoy the blessings of economic and political Freedom, so I’d know how good we have it.

I’m thankful for a wonderful family, the usual spats aside, for my beautiful, loving wife, Bonnie, and for the most special granddaughter, Britnye, a guy could have. I married late in life, but I married well.

And every day I give thanks that, at age 18, the United States Marine Corps gave me the opportunity to earn the title Marine, to wear the uniform of this great Republic, to serve with the finest men of my generation in Vietnam, to try every day to live up to the Corps’ core values of honor, courage and commitment. I’m grateful my DIs, Sergeants Harris, Martin and Owens, didn’t give up on this un-athletic, un-coordinated wiseass. If the Corps every goes down, it will surely signal the end of the American experiment in liberty.

I’m very thankful that I can still claim the title Marine with honor. I wouldn’t trade that for the largest lotto prize in the world.

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