This is the time of the year when it is really tough to be a turkey. If they knew their fate, I doubt they would feel there is much to be thankful for. Considering where they shall ultimately end up, it is best they do not know their fate. Nonetheless, I am very thankful for turkeys and all the associated joys they bring at this time of the year. Even though it is not related to Thanksgiving, I must admit and confess that I identify with the father in “The Christmas Story” when it comes to turkey. As seen in the movie, the fate of their “bird” fills one with sadness –– such a loss . . . I have always felt that once a year for such a feast is just not right. It seems to me that there should be some sort of mid-year Thanksgiving dinner; but alas, the idea has not caught on in my home.
On a little more serious note, it should be relatively easy for us to find so much to be thankful for, even in a time when there is so much tumult, both in our nation and the world. From the news that we read and hear every day, it would be extremely easy to slide in to a deep state of despair, but we should look at life from a positive light and consider what we have. We have the good fortune to be living in one of the greatest nations in the world. We do have a greater degree of safety and security than many parts of our troubled world. We have a far greater degree of prosperity than most of the world; and because this is America, we should always remember and never take for granted the freedoms and blessings that much of the world can barely imagine.
There is another reason and day to celebrate this month. The day Nov. 11 – Veterans’ Day. Originally called “Armistice Day”, it commemorates the “Eleventh hour of the Eleventh day of the Eleventh month”, the beginning of the armistice of Nov. 11, 1918 that ended World War One, at that time the bloodiest war the world had ever suffered through. During this month, I ask you to take a few minutes to recognize and remember those that have served or are serving their country. My Brothers, there are several things we can do to honor and thank our Veterans. At our Lodges, we can have a Veterans’ Appreciation Dinner and invite any Vet and his family. We can call or visit Vets who are housebound or living in VA Centers to thank them for their service; and if you know of a family who has lost a loved one in our Nation’s service, please give them a call to let them know they have not been forgotten. As citizens of a “grateful nation”, we must always “Honor and Remember” those that paid the ultimate price for our continued freedom.
In America, we are very fortunate, as we do not have to worry about home invasions by members of our Armed Forces — in fact, quite the contrary, we in general hold our Armed Forces in the highest esteem and respect. In times of natural disaster, we often turn first to those who serve, knowing they will come to our aid without hesitation. An article I recently read said that the United States military is among the most respected institutions in the country, and it is a respect that is well earned and well deserved. All things considered, we are blessed to live in America, and for this we should give thanks, both for our good fortune and to those who gave so much that so many can be free.
One of the freedoms they protect is the freedom for us to assemble, and for our Fraternity to gather together as we wish “in the character of Freemasons”. This is a precious freedom indeed, and as Freemasons, we should ever be thankful for it. To have the honor to be part of such a remarkable organization with such deep traditions and history is, for me at least, a unique privilege and a very special honor, and to be able to proclaim my membership freely without fear of reprisal or worse, is a gift never to be taken lightly.
My Brothers, please enjoy this holiday time, but I humbly ask that as you celebrate, please take the time to reflect and think about how blessed we are and what we truly should be thankful for. Remember those who gave so much. Think of our blessings and not our wants, our strengths and not our weaknesses, of sharing, of family and home, and of peace.
As we continue our Masonic Journey, let us continue to
“Learn – Subdue – Improve…”
William Beetcher, Grand Master