Now that another turkey day has arrived, it seems like a good time to think about thanks, and giving. Like most Nashvillians, I have a lot to be thankful for. And I believe that giving something back is one of the best ways to show true gratitude. So here goes:
I am very thankful for local charitable organizations, and I hope we can all find ways to give back, through them, in the spirit of the season. If money is short, why not offer time or goods?
I am very thankful for southern hospitality, and I hope to give back by exhibiting it myself as often as possible. I’ve lived in England, Germany and states from the East Coast to the Midwest to the West Coast, and I’ve never met people who were friendlier than Nashvillians.
Having seen half my subdivision underwater during the Great Nashville Flood, I am very thankful to know that Tennessee truly is the Volunteer State. An insurance adjustor who helped people in our neighborhood file claims said that he had never seen such cooperation anywhere else. In fact, he said that he liked what he saw so much that he was thinking about moving to Nashville himself! Volunteers give of themselves, expecting nothing in return except the warm glow of a job well done, and the smile of relief on someone else’s face. Tennesseans are known for such giving, and rightfully so, in my experience.
I am very thankful for Nashville’s mothers, who could probably teach the angels a few things about love, compassion and selfless sacrifice. I hope we will all remember to give back by thanking our mothers and wives for their wonderful, giving natures.
I am very thankful that I live in a country that was able to overcome its racist past by electing a multi-racial, multi-cultural president. Regardless of what President Obama does or doesn’t accomplish, his election and reelection were landmark moments for the United States and the American people. Hopefully in the future we will judge not only our children, but also our politicians and presidents, by the content of their character, not their race, creed, age, sex or sexual preference. I hope to give back by exercising my rights to vote, speak freely and dissent, when necessary.
I am very thankful for the many courageous young men and women — black, brown, red, yellow and white; gay and straight; Christian, Muslim, Hindu, atheist and agnostic — who enlist in our military to serve and protect their country. I hope to give back by striving, to the best of my ability, to keep them from being placed in harm’s way on false or highly dubious premises. I will give even more thanks when they are all safely home, and don’t have to risk their lives, health and mental well-being when it’s not absolutely necessary.
And finally, I would like to thank anyone who takes the time to read my articles, because I really do appreciate them giving my words their time and attention.
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.