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Richard Larsen: There is Much to Be Grateful For

November 23rd, 2009 by Halli

By Richard Larsen

It’s been said that life is what happens while we’re making other plans. It seems characteristic of human nature that in the process of eking out our existence and dealing with the vicissitudes of life, we sometimes are remiss in reflecting on the bigger picture and the bounties that are ours.

Our bounties are many, and we have to start with America herself. Our great country was conceived by the Declaration of Independence which proclaims that life and liberty are the inalienable gifts of God – natural rights – which no person or government can rightfully take away, and affirms that these are indeed God-given rights, not bestowed by man or governments. It affirms that the purpose of government is to secure our God-given inalienable individual rights, and that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed. Our Declaration reduced government from master to servant for the first time in history.

Our United States of America is not perfect. No temporal entity operated by man can be, yet the principles upon which this country is founded are divine in nature, and the resulting government by and for the people, originally was the most ennobling and free on earth. The Pilgrims early on realized freedom in commerce was concomitant with political freedom, and rejected communism, presaging the current struggle for the future of America.

The American people are the most giving in history. When there are calamities, conflicts, and just causes, Americans are there either as volunteers or giving generously of their means to assist. As Alexis de Tocqueville said, “America is great because America is good.”

We must always be grateful to our men and women in uniform who vigilantly ensure our liberties, freedom, and security on a daily basis. I am reminded of a list of truisms that declare: it is the veteran, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion. It is the veteran, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the veteran, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the veteran, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble. It is the veteran, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial. It is the veteran, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote. Without their service, what we know as America would not be, and we would conceivably all be speaking German.

Idaho is a magnificent place to live and to raise a family. Tucked away in the midst of the Rocky Mountains, Idaho affords an environment that is relatively unaffected by many of the evils and social scourges that modern society contends with. We can walk to the park and downtown, and perambulate around our neighborhoods mostly without the fears and apprehensions associated with urban milieus. And here in Pocatello we’re literally within minutes of magnificent forests with clean, flowing streams, lush vegetation, and indigenous wildlife.

With the prevailing value system, Pocatello is a perfect place to raise a family. Largely absent are the pestilences and curses of more urban settings, while an attitude of friendliness and neighborliness prevails. Pocatello is small enough we can claim one another as brothers and sisters even if no other immediate family members live here.

Gratitude and thankful hearts require a degree of humility. The world doesn’t owe us anything, but in humility, we are thankful for what we do have and what freedoms and privileges are ours.
And ultimately, since all blessings are bestowed by God, we express our deepest gratitude to him, as did the Pilgrims, for our country, our state, our families, and the temporal blessings that are ours to enjoy.

It is requisite of us to look to the past to gain appreciation for the present and perspective for the future. We should look upon the virtues of those who have gone before, to gain strength for whatever lies ahead. And we should reflect upon the work of those who labored so hard and gained so little in this world, but out of whose dreams and early plans, so well nurtured, has come a great harvest of freedom, of which we are the beneficiaries. Their tremendous examples can become a compelling motivation for us all.

Of all people in the history of mankind, we have most to be grateful for. We thank God for our blessings, and pray for resolve to protect and preserve them.

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