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Local Voices: Giving Thanks, America Is Still Great

By John Horton

Well, the “political season” is once again upon us. And, there is in some quarters, so much negativity, cynicism and pessimism. So much hate, anger and fear mongering. And, I got to thinking, though the road travelled has been difficult and challenging at times, there is so much that I am thankful for. First, I thank the Creator for allowing me to be here for 75 years … and counting. And, I thank God for giving my wife the strength to tolerate me for over 45 years … and counting.

I give thanks for my two sons, John – 38 and Ellery – 34, for they have grown into fine, young men. John recently finished ten years in the Navy. He is presently working in Norfolk/DOD as a computer analyst and technician. And, Ellery is working in the Raleigh/Triangle area as a computer engineering specialist and attending graduate school.
John graduated with honors from Lake Taylor High School in 1996, and Ellery graduated as Valedictorian of the Class of 2000 for Lake Taylor High School. As a proud father, if I say so myself, so far, so good for both of them. And, I give thanks.

On a more personal note, my wife and I suffer from a host of diseases and diagnoses. We take a litany of medications and prescriptions. I give thanks that I have the health coverage and live in a country where you and I can receive adequate care and competent treatment. When it comes to my health and my family’s, I give “special” thanks. I take nothing for granted anymore, and I give thanks for all that I receive, especially in terms of my (and family’s) health and well being.

With some reservations and imperfections, I give thanks for being a citizen of the United States. I served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1958 -1988, and I got to see and experience a lot of the world and its peoples and cultures. And, believe me, I give thanks for growing up in America. While America is not without her “bruises” and “blemishes,” she is still, by far, the best when it comes to freedom, opportunity, and progress. In short, America is not perfect, but she is far better than her contemporaries are.
She is that “Shining City on the Hill.” And, I give thanks for all that.

Further, I give thanks for being able to contribute to the welfare and advancement of others, especially those children and families that are at risk and disadvantaged socially, politically, and economically. I thank the Creator that He has enlightened and enabled me to do the best that I can with what I have. As such, I always keep in mind Jackie Robinson’s ethos: “A life is unimportant except for the impact that it has on others.”

Moreover, I give thanks for all the times, places, and peoples that I “forgot” to give “proper” thanks for. I figure it’s time that I reflect upon, remember, and treasure all the good times, good places, and good peoples that have happened in my life … allowing me to continue on the remainder of my journey. I give thanks to all those who helped and empowered me over the years, decades, and half-century plus. I give thanks to all those whose backs and shoulders that I have stood and built upon all this time. And, I give “heartfelt” thanks for realizing that I have not been alone, nor have I done it all by myself.
Lastly, for all these reasons and so much more, I am truly “thankful.”

I thank the Creator and Life for being so good to me and mine. And, I give thanks for being allowed to share my “blessings” with others. For everything I want to be, for everything I hope to be, and for everything that I am, I give thanks and thanks and more thanks. And, only in America at this time and place, could have I been so blessed and fortunate in receiving all of my “gifts” of love, laughter and life. And, for all that, I shall be eternally grateful and thankful.

John Horton is a resident of Norfolk and a frequent contributor to this newspaper.

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