Thaŋ(k)s-ˈgi-viŋ 2015

From a small town in South Western Minnesota I take time for Thanksgiving.

I thank the people of my community that strive to make our town a better place.

I thank others that have shown up to fill the demographic void that was left by my grand parents, my parents and many others who have passed away or have “out migrated” for other opportunities.

I thank S.– and A.– for the heroism in the fields of Laos. Few people will ever know what you survived. Few people will ever come to realize the risks that you took to champion American ideals in a long forgotten war.

Few will know my friends that fled Laos on elephant back losing children along the way. Once again, many supported American ideals and philosophies. Many supported American war efforts.

Other friends help fill the once vacant building that littered my mainstreet and many main streets across the U.S. Our main street is rather full right now with an emerging immigrant population that is quickly learning how to thrive in their new found home.

They come as immigrants, they come as refugees, they come looking for a better life. They work in our factories. They work in our machine shops. They start their own businesses and help our fragile economy. They sometimes stumble and fail. I think more of them for trying, not less.

In one sense they are perhaps “The Man in the Arena” that President Roosevelt eluded. They see America as a vibrant and worthy place. “Those who know the great enthusiasm to a worthy cause. They at best, know the triumphs of high achievement; and who , at worst, fail while daring greatly. So that their place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat. “

A day to give Thanksgiving to those that have aspirations, to those that find my community their “New Found Land”.

My community would be a shadow of itself, if we did not have our immigrants.

In a time of world wide angst and fear, it is important to reflect on blessings and gratitude.

IMG_2802What we were once, they are now.

They are learning our ways & they are holding on to some of their cherished traditions. Their traditions add to our greater understanding of the world.

We were all immigrants once, we stumble and make mistakes. The object is that we learn from our differences and find commonality in our friendships.

My “new found friends” have now been here for decades. They are nearing retirement, their children have gone to school and are doctors and in our military as officers. In a blink I have seen one generation go from not knowing English, to having their children give me the medical advise to help me stay alive. Every day I wake up amazed at my community and the

Anthropological/Sociological laboratory it represents.

Our homes have many rooms, are tables have the ability to produce and display abundance.

We have many old friends and we give thanks for our many new friends.

A Thanksgiving wish of abundance to you and yours. billkeitel@areavoices.com