My turn

It's time to give thanks for the people who populate this column

2013-11-24T00:00:00Z It's time to give thanks for the people who populate this columnBy Bill Vargo Times Columnist nwitimes.com
November 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

How is your shopping list coming along? I’m sorry, I meant, how are your preparations for Thanksgiving coming along? I am easily confused at this advanced age; I thought we took one holiday at a time.

Before we jump ahead, I thought I would give my annual thanks for the stories that I have been able to tell and the people that we have been fortunate to meet through this column.

I'll break it down into categories. I don’t break the line out very often but if I have to, I tell my sons, “It is so, because I said it is so.” That sounds like I have authority, which I delude myself into thinking from time to time.

First, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, please look through your DVR, newspapers, magazines and other media for some pretty interesting discussions on the power of 250 words (the Gettysburg Address). That is the first thing that I am thankful for.

I give thanks for a much greater appreciation for the workmanship and design that went into the nine-span bridge in Hammond. It simply astounds me that a bridge so far up in the air and driven over by so many vehicles would last as long as it did. I am thankful for people who design and construct bridges like this every day of the year.

Next, communities like Griffith continue to draw people into their little downtown. How? With beauty, and this year, painted and decorated bicycles.

If you went downtown this summer and fall you might have thought a bunch of people just stopped their bikes willy-nilly on the sidewalk and took up residence at a local business.

If you did, you were half right. The bikes were a metaphor for that same idea. Come off of the bike trail, park your ride and stay for a while. Let’s give a hand to Imagine Griffith.

I was in Arizona for my niece's wedding in February with a pretty good column idea, but not a great one. In times of need, it is good to have friends with stories to tell. Tom Clark at Lake Central High School sent me a link to a program airing on the CBS Evening News about his Gold Star Memorial Project.

I have thanked Clark many times, both in this column and in person, but I think that the real heroes are the students and the families who share those stories. It takes a lot of courage to be the person that initiates the conversation, and just as much to open up about losing a loved one to war.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, Clark will take his Interact Club to a food pantry Thursday, as he has for many years. Thank you on behalf of all of us.

Finally, I would like to thank two groups that would be very mad at me if I called them out by name.

First are the men and women who stage Honor Flights for our World War II veterans, taking them to Washington D.C. to see the WWII memorial and other sites, all without any expense to the veterans themselves.

Second, the Patriot Guard spends an incredible amount of time escorting and protecting these veterans when they come and go out of Midway Airport. Both groups  are amazing. Thank you very much.

Now, let’s eat.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at billvargo@yahoo.com.

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