Gratitude, and thinking about the future | Home Again

By Joanne Peterson | Nov 21, 2016

I’ve been thinking about United States veterans whose sacrifices have shaped history, upheld the ideals of their country, and who served to protect Americans who never wore a uniform. Veterans deserve grateful recognition, whether they fought in “popular” or “unpopular” wars and whether that service was 50 years ago or recent.

Sorrow tempers my gratitude when I think of veterans coming home to find inadequate support systems to heal them and help them, whether with medical issues, housing, jobs or relationships. And the families awaiting the return from service of their loved ones, who come home different than they were when they deployed, probably should have their own day of honor, shouldn’t they?

Veterans Day provided an opportunity to honor our veterans, but today, my opportunity to write this column is a good day to express gratitude, too. Isn’t every day? So thank you, veterans who have served your country, our country. And let’s talk to children and grandchildren about the significance of that service.

I’ve also been thinking about the future of this country as we move forward from the day of the presidential election. Who hasn’t been thinking about that election and its aftermath?

Whether individuals are pleased and optimistic or scared to death, the people of the United States have witnessed the election of a president. As time ticks by and citizens hear more presidential plans, I suppose there will be fresh waves of suspicion and fear, countered by fresh claims that finally our country is going to turn around, whatever that means.

I don’t know how far the country will turn or whether it’ll end up looking toward darkness or toward light. I’m hoping for light.

The thing is, though, there will be the evolving need for eventual cooperation and some semblance of unity. I like to believe that venomous words spoken by candidates – and supporters and detractors – in the heat of political battle, do not necessarily define those politicians or their followers.

People say terrible things sometimes, usually when afraid, insecure and/or angry. Politicians or people aspiring to become politicians sometimes mellow later and construct or reconstruct a dignified and humble persona, with an observable dedication to serving all of the people.

Do we know how events in the White House and in our country will unfold? No.

For a while, I’d guess we can anticipate that people will perhaps join the marches in the streets, shoot off celebratory fireworks, hold prayer vigils, throw victory parties, check into Canadian citizenship, sing in the shower, take to their beds, write letters to editors or do whatever else brings some ease after months of tension.

No matter how deep the sorrow or how high the jubilation, I count on the political situation evolving, with reason eventually prevailing. The United States of America, still probably the best place to be, must continue to build inclusiveness, cooperation, fairness and respect, with every life valued.

We are all in this together, remember? We’re all just walking each other home.

 

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