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Finneran: Grateful

Friday, November 23, 2018

 

Yesterday was the official day—Thanksgiving, always the fourth Thursday in November—but in truth, we Americans should be giving thanks for the nation’s many blessings for 365 and one-quarter days each year. We are the luckiest people ever born.

Saying Grace or other prayers of gratitude before Thanksgiving dinner is always appropriate. But, in light of the plentitude of our blessings, doesn’t Grace seem just a tad too short? “These thy gifts” and “thy bounty” cover a lot of ground, but don’t we all need the occasional reminder of specific blessings?

I’m grateful for the healers---doctors, nurses, researchers---who devote their lives to saving lives. Amazing science in tandem with amazing skill—a true national blessing, much of it born in Boston. Give thanks.

I’m grateful for the spiritual leaders---priests, nuns, rabbis, ministers, imams---who guide us in right paths and remind us that we are called to love one another as we have been loved. Give thanks.

I’m grateful for the men and women in our armed forces, protecting us from the evils of evil men. They serve us with devotion and they sacrifice much to do so. Give thanks.

I’m grateful for the writers, the teachers, and the professors who impart wisdom and who in so doing, create a lifelong passion for learning in their students. Give thanks.

I’m grateful for the firefighters of America. Recent events in Lawrence and Andover here at home and out in the wildfires of California remind us of the terror of fire and the courage of those who battle the flames. Too many firefighters die in the fight to save others. Give thanks.

I’m grateful for police officers, rarely asked to respond to a happy event and always asked to handle violent, emotional, and dangerous circumstances. Too many police officers die in the fight to save others. Give thanks.

I’m grateful for EMTs. Their skill and devotion ease the panic of the frail, the elderly, the sick, and the injured. They provide hope in the midst of fear. Give thanks.

I’m grateful for our nation’s past political leaders---Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Douglass, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Truman, King, and Reagan. None of them were perfect, but all of them were good in navigating the country through the troubled waters of their times. They confronted military emergencies, moral crises, and political dangers with courage and leadership. We are the beneficiaries of their service. Give thanks.

I’m grateful for sensible local and state leaders. Boston and Massachusetts are on a roll in terms of economic opportunity, higher education, spectacular medical advances, and overall well-being. Forty nine other states look at us with envy. Yet good leaders know that things will not always be thus and they prepare for adverse events. Sensible, prudent, wise, thoughtful, and curious are the traits we should look for............

I know enough about politics to refrain from citing specific names. Suffice it to say that we have men and women serving at the local, state, and federal levels of government who keep Massachusetts moving forward. Be grateful. Give thanks.

I’m grateful for the quiet generosity of private citizens, supporting countless causes from parish food banks to cures for cancer. Their quests nourish our hopes. Give thanks.

And may you and your family enjoy the blessings of a peaceful bounteous Thanksgiving. Give thanks.

Tom Finneran is the former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, served as the head the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and was a longstanding radio voice in Boston radio.

 

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