Another year is about to end and that means its time to reflect a bit. Our nation remains at war with an elusive enemy.
We also face an economic crisis that has risked the financial well being of citizens of all economic standing including me. Nonetheless, this is not a time to sit back and hide in a corner.
No. 1 place to live
Weve taken a few hits, but the United States remains the best place to live in the world.
Our freedom to express ourselves without fear of imprisonment or punishment makes America a shining light to the world. Sometimes people complain about things not being perfect here.
And I agree. Life isnt perfect and some people are not treated fairly. Nonetheless, if America was a bad place, we would not see the immigration that continues to bring diversity and energy to the American melting pot. Immigration must be regulated, but we are fortunate to live in a country that people want to move to and not away from.
Freedom of expression reminds me of that Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President Bush not long ago. Bush handled that situation much better than I would have. I think I would have tried to catch the shoes and throw them back.
Thankfully, Bush is calmer about such things than I am. The whole incident is amazing to me because without the war, this knucklehead would not have had the ability to throw his shoes and avoid immediate death.
Can you imagine Saddam Husseins reaction? I dont think he would have dodged the shoes or thrown a shoe back. He might have tossed a hand grenade but not a shoe.
Times have changed
Lets be thankful that many Iraqis have freedoms they lacked before we arrived and be thankful that our magnificent servicemen and women have achieved much success in a very difficult war.
Even with the economic trial we face, we still live in a place where most of us arent concerned about starving or having a roof over our heads.
Sure there are people who need help, and I think all of us should help people who need it.
Nonetheless, compared to many areas of the world, life in the United States is good, even with the rollercoaster ride of the stock market and the price of gas.
We also should remain thankful for the people who continue to volunteer to serve in uniform in a time of war.
I am very proud of the support shown our men and women in military service in our local community and throughout the nation.
Voluntary service today in the military services, public safety, and many of the civilian agencies of the government takes very special people.
There are some really bad folks in the world who would gladly die to kill one of us. These public servants in and out of uniform have protected us and continue to do the same.
No lethal, successful terrorist attack on American soil is certainly something to be thankful for. So life may not be perfect, but its hard to complain too much.
John M. House is a retired Army colonel who lives in Midland, Ga. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.