I was three years old and living with my parents in Montreal Canada on that fateful day when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on Friday , November 22, 1963. My memory is filled with stories that were told to me in my formative years how people wept, businesses and schools closed and an immediate dark shroud enveloped the psyche of millions with the uncertainty of what the meaning of the moment meant.
We all have experienced that sensation on September 11th, 2001. It seemed that the only solace we had were news casters on our televisions, radios and electronic devices confirming that the danger was isolated. My parents explained how suddenly that memory of the passing of a great American president decades before was thrust upon them and relived in all its vividness and brutality on 9/11.
It seems that on days like today when we celebrate the good tidings in our life with the confluence of Thanksgiving on the same day as an historic anniversary a brief moment of reflection is in order.
Today is a surreal day for me. I am an immigrant and so by default since the original notion of a national day of Thanksgiving was perpetrated by Pilgrims who sought a better life in a better world today is a day of acknowledgement that the risks taken and sacrifices made to fasten a life here by those who seek freedom still remains a valid exercise. For that I am thankful.
As I inventory the political dislocation we continue to experience in America I remain hopeful that we are on the eve of a great moment in where resolution can re-endow our society to greatness. The recent overtures by our President and congressional leaders to achieve a union of purpose by year-end is something to celebrate today and for that I am thankful.
For my friends and family members I know who have lost loved ones this date in history when we lost a great man serves as a reminder that to be thankful is an essential exercise in order to embrace those blessings which life can suddenly remove from our grasp with little notice. I am thankful that on this day I acknowledge how fleeting life can be and therefore, how important it is to bask in the blessings of family, friends and personal circumstances.
There always will be in every category of life those who are far less fortunate than me and so today like no other is truly one to be lived for the moment to its fullest measure.
Joe D’Amore writes from Groveland, MA