David Von Drehle’s column in the Washington Post’s Thanksgiving Day edition sums it all up: “Gratitude is a muscle. It strengthens us with use.”
“Ultimately,” the widely-followed columnist concludes, “gratitude is somehow linked to hope and hope is the pre-requisite of action.”
“One must be grateful for the Earth before one can save it. One must be thankful for beauty before one can spread it;” this is especially true for discouraged or displaced souls.
Columnist Von Drehle concludes: “Gratitude can make a legacy from almost nothing.” He cites Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an avid and outspoken critic of Hitler’s regime. The Lutheran pastor was executed in 1945 at a Nazi prison camp just days before World War II in Europe ended.
Among Bonhoeffer’s last words: “In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
Lessons for today in America?
An estimated 70,000 Afghan refugees have been airlifted from Kabul to America since the United States withdrawal from Afghanistan in late August.
As of November 19, according to New York Times correspondents Michael Shear and Jim Tankersley, more than 22,500 Afghan refugees have been resettled in the United States, slightly less than a third of those arriving since late August.
It’s difficult, nationwide, to count how many of the refugees have found homes outside nearby American military bases since their arrival three months ago.
The problem is that the arrival at United States airbases often occur in or near cities where living expenses are higher than those, say, in rural areas such as North and South Dakota and less populated farming communities in the American Midwest.
Rays of hope, even in some urban areas
Hannan Adely, a reporter in Northern New Jersey, describes a program started two years ago by Cornerstone, a Princeton-based non-profit to support needy families.
Cornerstone had a Zoom call with newly-arriving Afghan refugees in their native languages, Pashto and Dari. It explained Thanksgiving and the typical American menu of that holiday, new to most arriving families.
Imagine their delight, with such heartwarming a welcome as they embarked on an unprecedented adventure in the New World initially experienced by European pilgrims in Jamestown more than four centuries ago.
As a 36-year veteran of the Voice of America (VOA), Alan Heil traveled to more than 40 countries a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, and later as director of News and Current Affairs, deputy director of programs, and deputy director of the nation’s largest publicly-funded overseas multimedia network. Today, VOA reaches more than 275 million people around the world each week via radio, television and online media. Read More