Neighbor to Neighbor: Despite Sept. 11, there’s much to be thankful for

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This Thanksgiving, our hearts still ache for those who are not with us any longer, those who are suffering in body and spirit, and for our country at war and her defenders. We will worry because there are many things to worry about: We will remember because there were so many wonderful times, on Thanksgivings past, that family and friends shared our bountiful table. We will look ahead, praying for the safety and happy futures for all those who have tried, and are still trying to rescue the world with us in it.

The morning after Sept. 11 I was still frustrated and devastated. I wanted to help very much. I wanted to find out about friends who might have been in the area of the attack. I stood outside in our garden for a few minutes. Someplace nearby I heard some little birds chirping at me as they do every day when I go out to give them their food. Those wonderful little miracles let me know there are still pockets of normalcy left.

As the days and weeks went on I appreciated hearing every story told about someone who, for some reason, missed being in the World Trade Center that fateful day. I wish no one had been there. Of course, what has been has been, and we must just pray that such a thing will never happen again. Anthrax terrorism emerged soon later.

President Bush, Governor Pataki and Mayor Giuliani, (very deservedly, I think), heard world-wide cheers for the manner in which they did their part to prevent an even worse disaster. There was, in fact, a short time when there seemed to be nothing but praise and a renewal of patriotism.

I remembered back to a couple or gears ago, when the Rosedale Little League needed a flag for its parade. There were flags in our communities, but the only United States flag that could be bought here was faded on one side from being folded so long in the packaging. Luckily, the needed purchase was made in Nassau County.

Now we see the Star Spangled Banner guarding us from a great many vantage points, as well as other attractive red, white and blue symbols. Those of us who are sometimes accused of being flag-wavers felt pride and an unusual closeness to some who have been blessed by the many advantages they have earned or been given, and yet only after Sept. 11 seemed to feel any loyalty at all to this country. Some still do not.

One of my close friends, a native to Jamaica island who has been a loyal U.S. citizen for many years, told me of an incident that happened to her within the last week. She was approached by another black lady and was chastised because she was wearing a red, white and blue emblem. “Why are you wearing that?” she asked. She went on, “When I was a child, I walked miles in the hot sand, without shoes and when I finally came to a water fountain it had a sign that said, ‘WHITES ONLY.’ It’s about time the whites got what they deserve!”

My friend told her that she felt sorry to hear about the problems she had, but her own experiences had been entirely different, and she wanted to show outwardly that she appreciated the advantages she had by coming here that she never could have achieved had she stayed in her birth country.

My friend and I have no problem about race - except that we wish everyone else would feel the same way. Like many others, I worked hard for civil rights and am proud of that. I think any kind of discrimination is wrong and I certainly think that woman’s statement to my friend indicated how poorly informed she is. The victims of the September crimes did not “deserve what they got,” and certainly not all the victims were white. We are grateful that there are more people who want to do caring deeds for everyone and anyone.

For just one example, a program for free dental examinations by the Student National Dental Association/ New York University Chapter for Adults and Children, will be offered Saturday Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event is sponsored by the Hostess Ministry of New Jerusalem Baptist Church, 122-05, Smith Street, Jamaica, N.Y. corner Smith St., and Baisley Blvd., 718-739-1542. Rev., Dr. James C. Kelly, Sr., Pastor/Founder. People will receive a free toothbrush, toothpaste and floss.

Helping, sharing, respecting. That’s what life is all about.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Updated 7:28 pm, October 10, 2011
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