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Diane W. Mufson: Be sure to give thanks on Thanksgiving Day

November 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Day is so hectic for most Americans that the one thing many of us do not do is realize how much we have for which to be thankful. Today’s a good day to take a moment away from football, food, family and friends to be thankful.

We express our appreciation in differing fashions. Some people do it by prayer and through their houses of worship. Others give thanks by donating time, energy or money to charities and groups that help those less fortunate. Still others make a point to verbally express their thanks. We may value and be thankful for different things, but there are some commonalities.

We should be thankful that despite our national, state and local governments’ imperfection and that we are not all equally happy with our elected officials, the United States is viewed as good as it gets. People from all over the world wouldn’t be clamoring to enter our country if their own country was anywhere as good. But, we could do better. I, and many others, would be thankful if we could significantly tone down the toxic hate and dissension in this nation. Many of us are thankful that Election Day was not marred by any major calamities or violence and the voter turnout was extensive.

I am thankful that we have a free press and the ability to report on all matters and viewpoints that affect this country. Even when our press is challenged or threatened by political opponents, it perseveres. In dictatorial countries, the press faces restrictions and sometimes death. I am thankful for having the opportunity to write hundreds of columns for The Herald-Dispatch since 1999.

While our family has always been appreciative of American health care, Maury and I are particularly thankful for it this year. Last year at this time, Maury found he could not walk even a few steps without pain and a cane. Surgery right here in Huntington changed all that. We, and many in our community, are grateful we no longer have to travel to Cleveland or other major cities for specialized health care as we did for so many years.

Not only are we thankful for accessibility to quality health care but also for Medicare. It’s a great program that guarantees that older Americans will be able to afford decent health care. It is not free; a portion of recipients’ Social Security benefits are automatically applied to this fund. Good health care is not cheap, but I would be thankful if the cost of decent health care was within reach of all Americans.

I am thankful I live in a forward-looking community that has positive, innovative and meaningful activities. If one cannot find a sport, cultural, musical, social, volunteer or religious activity or a delicious place to eat, then one is not trying. And as someone who travels often, I’m very glad that American Airlines now serves Huntington’s Tri-State Airport with jets.

I’m also thankful that our area knows and admits it has problems while actively seeking solutions for them. While we may have been at the heart of the opioid epidemic, we also became a focal point to reduce it; our work benefits the entire nation.

On a personal note, I am most thankful for family and friends. These are the people who make our lives full of love and meaning. So, in this age of instant gratification, constant information and consumerism, Thanksgiving Day is the right time to appreciate the meaning of this holiday.

Diane W. Mufson is a retired psychologist. Her email is dwmufson@comcast.net.

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