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Despite the chaos, I’m thankful for America

An outsider looking in may scoff at the notion but America, despite all its flaws, is still the greatest country on God’s good earth. Though they could not have dreamed what the world would look like 240 years hence, the founders of our system of government put together a pretty good framework back in 1776 that has stood the test of time. Has America made mistakes though the years? Absolutely. So has every other nation and every individual. But no nation has done more to atone for its mistakes than has the USA. This is a time of deep political division. But there is always an example of reason to offset the rhetoric. There is always an act of kindness to serve as a counterweight for hostility. Driving, I had just listened to Sen. Kamala Harris compare agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement with hooded, cross-burning members of the Ku Klux Klan. She wants to be president. She has no shot. I turned a corner and came upon a man who had gotten out of his vehicle with a trash bag and was picking up trash that a cold wind had blown off the back of a trash truck that was just down the street. After reading insults hurled at this country by Louis Farrakhan, who chanted ‘Death to America’ with crazed Muslims in Iran, I saw hundreds of people brave terrible weather to turn out for several Veterans Day observances. There were Vietnam vets, as poorly treated a group as has ever served this country, wearing remnants of their uniforms – and their scars, not all of which were incurred at the hands of the enemy – standing at rigid attention saluting our flag. There were tears in their eyes as the roll of veterans who have died since last Veterans Day was read. Patriotism is not dead among that bunch nor is it dead among the hundreds of elementary school students who were waving flags. Hate for America is not being taught in all schools – certainly not those around here. America has stood the test of time because we are a nation of laws. Certainly, we still welcome the tired, poor and huddled masses from impoverished regions but we have a legal immigration system. Those who ignore it have broken our laws and are criminals. I cannot imagine strolling up to the border of Canada or Mexico and just waltzing across without fear of repercussions. This was on my mind as I saw an Hispanic male get off a yard service truck in the rain and return a grocery cart to its rightful place at the supermarket for an elderly white woman who was putting groceries into the trunk of her beaten up old car. Certainly we have issues. Society breaks down along racial lines, along economic lines and along political lines in addition to countless other divides but, if you look beyond all that, there are hundreds of examples of love. It is a shame that the media spotlight is not shone upon them rather than the haters. ’˜The End’ is the song that closes out The Beatles’ epochal ‘˜Abbey Road’ album. The lyrics were written by Paul McCartney. This is Paul’s very last line: ‘˜And, in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make’. This Thanksgiving season, we would all do well to remember those words. I am thankful for Paul McCartney’s vision and wisdom. I am thankful for this great country and this even greater community. I am thankful for each and every reader of this column and your hometown newspaper. The following is the list of local veterans who have died since last Nov. 11 that was read at the Barnesville Veterans Day observance. I am thankful for them, their families and their service to our country. U.S. Army: Jerome Zellner, James T. Boggs, William T. Cook, John W. Fournoy, Willie H. Geiger, Barbara L. Moxon, George E. McLean, Floyd ‘˜Les’ Henson Jr., Orlando Colquitt, Lloyd M. Smith, Ager W. Linder, Johnny F. Roberts, Oscar L. Wimberly, Charlie F. York, Walter Furlow, Ozzie Tennyman, John L. Worthy. U.S. Marine Corps: Milton D. Glass, Robert L. Parsons Jr., Will E. McCranie, Stell Blake Traylor Jr. U.S. Air Force: James C. Marshall, Ray B. Patrick. Army Air Corps (WWII): Paul W. Stewart. U.S. Navy: James C. Marshall, Bobby L. Wright, Jimmy C. Allen Sr., Kelly W. Wilson, Gerald W. Farmer. U.S. Coast Guard: Roosevelt T. Andrews. National Guard: Tye H. Harwell.

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