Archive for Thursday, May 26, 2011

Giving thanks to …

May 26, 2011

It seems to me that May is a month for remembering those who have gone before us and to pause a moment and think about those who have touched our lives in a positive way. All of us have many to remember who have guided us along the road of life and each of us has many to thank. I’m going to reminisce about those who have helped me and I hope you’ll think about those who have touched your lives, too.

As most know, the observance of Memorial Day started after the Civil War and I’m sure the founders of the observance had no idea how large the list of those who died in defense of our country would become in a century-and-a-half. More than a million American men and women have given their lives in defense of our freedom, and we can never forget the sacrifices they and their families have made for our country. I doubt there is a family in the nation who hasn’t lost a loved one in the many wars during the past century. I remember an uncle, whom I dearly loved, died in the South Pacific. He was denied the thrill of seeing his children grow up. I honor his memory and that of millions who died for our country and our freedom. I believe we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to those who are serving to protect our freedom today.

I have the greatest respect for the pioneers who settled Kansas and the entire western half of the United States. I appreciate their bravery and ambition to turn a wilderness into a productive region.

Between the celebrations of Mother’s Day and Memorial Day, I spend a lot of time thinking about my childhood and my late parents. This year I have been thinking about how unlucky my parents were and how charmed my life has been. Jean and I have been married longer than my parents lived. My mother died when I was 11 and she was only 43 years old. All three of our daughters have lived longer than she did. My father was only 53 when he died and at age 19, I faced a lot of challenges, but with the help of many, I was able to overcome them. I will always appreciate those who helped me in that difficult time in my life.

I love and miss my parents-in-law, Ben and Evelyn Borth. They welcomed me into their family and were so important to me. I am fortunate to have a wonderful extended family.

I was fortune to have spent my working life in a career I thoroughly enjoyed. I will always appreciate a high school journalism teacher who saw a glimmer of talent and motivated me to develop my skills. I learned a lot while working for newspapers while I attended school. When I was working at BPU, I had a wonderful mentor, Ed Schowalter, who taught me a great deal about writing and life. I will always be thankful that Elton Carter sold us the Chieftain newspaper. He took a chance, but he had an unshakeable belief in our ability. Earlier, Millard Ross sold the Mulvane News to us to start our publishing career. I don’t think we would have made it if I hadn’t learned the printing trade in high school. Yes, I have a lot of people to thank for my career in journalism.

The best decision I ever made was to go on a blind date in 1958. That first date led to a wonderful marriage that has lasted more than 52 years.

I appreciate my daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren. I have been blessed with a wonderful family. I enjoyed being a parent and now I think I find greater joy in watching my grandchildren grow up.

We all have so much to appreciate in our lives and we need to remember those who have helped us along the way. The best way we can repay our debt to our mentors is to do all we can to help those who are just starting the adventure of living. By being a mentor to others, we will be building a brighter future. Let’s do all we can to make sure we leave the world in a better place than we found it.

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