I’m grateful for July 4th in America! We are a free, united states of America!
I’m a Buckeye (Ohioan) born and raised, but I’m an American, first!
I’m white, but I’m a non-racist, first!
I’m a Lutheran, but I’m a religious free thinker, first!
I’m growing older, but I’m still the child who was loved by her parents and taught to respect others and do right, rather than wrong, because the difference impacts all those around me — first!
I’m a farmer’s daughter, a believer in conservation, because this Earth is all we have in the universe — first!
I’m grateful for my life in the United States of America, first and last!
What can you write about freedom in America and American traditions?
(BONUS Trivia: Manish Mamtani, who grew up in central India, was inspired to photograph American national parks at night when he came to the United States to live and found that most Americans can’t get a view of the Milky Way. TRUE, or FALSE?
Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg
Letters to the Editor may seem of no real importance at first mention, but when one stops to consider the subject matter many times centered in these efforts is about patriotism, or citizenship, reevaluation may be necessary.
My gratitude today is for letter-writers like Willie P., of Paulding, Ohio, and Jackie S., of Archbold, Ohio.
This month, Willie P. wrote of the need to continue to protect our American Constitution. By helping draft and support documents like the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the American Constitution, our Founding Fathers also created risks to their own lives, as their efforts meant supporting a complete break from the British government, Willie P. pointed out. Without the continuation of knowledge on, and support for, these documents of freedom, American freedom cannot stand.
Jackie S. reminded us of her relationship with, and appreciation for, Bob Heft, former mayor of Napoleon, Ohio, who drafted the design for the 50-State American flag. Bob didn’t stop there, Jackie S. rightfully declared. He dedicated his life to serve and promote the flag and the American way of life it represents.
These are passionate reminders that freedom is not free. Freedom is a continuous work in progress. It must be nurtured throughout every generation of Americans to ensure its success.
Much can be written about these individuals, or ones you know who have made similar contributions. Why wait to do so?
(BONUS Trivia: Who said the National Park System “is one of the first great American inventions”?
ANSWER: QT Luong, who has photographed all 60 national parks over 25 years!)
Photos from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg
I’m so grateful for my computer when I haven’t slept a wink, or three, and, of course, for my computer companions — coffee, tea, or an instruction book!
Thank you wee-hour companions, for being there steady as a rock! Without you, I couldn’t get through those last five hours of the morning! Oh, yes, and I’m thankful for eye drops!
Well, okay, I intensely dislike the computer era, being the type of soul (no pun intended) that still enjoys a pen/pencil and paper but who is forced to join the computer-type age for fear of being completely left behind in world events.
Give me a maple tree to sit under any time, but, of course, practically speaking, I will continue to embrace the possibilities of the computer-type age!
(BONUS Trivia: Becky Lomax, who wrote Moon USA National Parks set for release in October of 2018, said of which national park, “…I knew it had wildlife, but it has lots of wildlife.”
ANSWER: Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota!)
Photo from the personal and copyrighted collection of Barbara Anne Helberg
Ned Garver, a Major League Baseball pitcher from the tiny town of Ney, Ohio, which is nestled between the Northwest Ohio farm cities of Bryan and Defiance, passed away Sunday, February 26, 2017.
Ned gave back to his community. And that’s what I’m grateful for today. I’m grateful for the successful who rededicate their lives to their home towns. After his baseball retirement, Ned served his little berg as mayor, council member, and park board associate. For 14 years, he held a job at a local company.
One may jump on the Internet on any given day and read extraordinarily hateful remarks about athletes, celebrities, and others who are fodder for mainstream gossip. And that’s disgusting, coming from people who know nothing about which they speak, for the most part. This, while the facts are that many of these blessed individuals find numerous ways to return the wealth they’ve been given to steward.
Actor Matthew Broderick gave back during last Winter’s basketball season. He helped sponsor the “Never Forget Tribute Classic”, a roundball event that raised funds to benefit children victimized by the loss of their parents on 9/11, when terrorists struck New York City and killed thousands of innocent persons.
Former NFL great Fred Biletnikoff lost his daughter in a drug-related killing, after she had recovered herself and was trying to help another. What was Biletnikoff’s response? He helped found Tracey’s Place, dedicated to his daughter’s memory, and to offering a hands-on facility where persons with drug problems can recover.
These three examples speak of the specially blessed giving back monumentally to their communities, and to the people left behind by tragedy.
Acts of kindness and giving go on year round in our country, not loudly and with fanfare, but with sincerity for distributing helping hands and with dignity in serving humbly.
These are the attributes and the acts that make it worthwhile for humankind to know one another. And I’m grateful for that.
Celebrities and sports figures are an integral part of the American landscape, begging your pen for factual and fictional action!
(BONUS Trivia: Which two states have the most national parks within their borders?
ANSWER: Alaska and California both have eight different parks!)
Am I disappointed at the people’s choice to elect Donald J. Trump to the American Presidency? Very much so!
Will I hit the streets in protest, tip over a police car, burn a shirt? Of course not!
And neither should you!
We had an election. Now we have transition of power in a way few countries enjoy. When President-elect Trump is inaugurated in January of 2017, he will become our main man.
What I’m grateful for today is that our main-man-to-be already has reached out to his detractors and his supporters for their help and understanding as he learns the ropes, so to speak, and our power people who lost in the election immediately congratulated him and offered him well wishes. President Obama met with President-elect Trump today and later referred to the meeting as “excellent.”
It’s what we do in America. We come together for the benefit of our Democracy and its survival. That’s a lot for which to be thankful! When you’re disappointed, thank your lucky stars for your benefits!
Have you written anything about the political history of America? It’s such fertile ground to explore!
(BONUS Trivia: Death Valley exists in what two states?
ANSWER: California and Nevada!)
Today, especially, and always, I’m grateful for The Vote! Are you?
It’s a very important day in America. Although I’m certain the majority of voting Americans will be happy to see this Presidential campaign, one of the nastiest in our history, draw to a close as we enjoy the traditional peaceful transition of power in Washington, D.C., I’m also confident that the majority of Americans are going today to their polling places with love of country in their hearts.
Get out and vote! The privilege of voting is part of what makes our United States of America great!
So many wrote about The Vote; so many persevered to obtain it. What are your writerly thoughts?
(BONUS Trivia: While Death Valley exhibits much in fossils, which park offers such fare from 34 to 56 million years ago?
ANSWER: Badlands National Park in South Dakota!)