Thanks for Everything

Let me begin by saying that we are a small city but one with a very large heart. A heart and fervor that has been carried on through the athletic efforts of our young football players from the inception of our football program. The game of football is one we play with lots of passion, enthusiasm, and in good spirit. Unfortunately the intolerable actions that witnessed by many displayed the opposite of what we preach in our program and are not a representation of who we are as a City, a Community, or an Organization. We are a hardworking and proud community that rallies behind the efforts of our young student-athletes as they strive to represent us on the gridiron in a positive manner. We take great pride in guiding the path of our children as they carry on through life to become the future forefathers of this community and leaders of tomorrow. Since July our children have been working hard to properly represent us and have done so bravely earning the respect of every opponent along the way. Now, this year, their efforts have been halted by the actions of one person. Their dreams have been shattered and their rightfully earned opportunity to play has been taken from them as the league has suspended the football teams for the remainder of the season. The actions that have taken place are intolerable and saddening to say the least. We take great pride in properly representing the Miami Extreme Youth Football League, the Orange Bowl Youth Football Alliance, and all of their affiliates. We hope that the actions of one individual do not continue to negatively portray the positive work being done to make a difference in the lives of our youth. We have asked that the Miami Extreme Youth Football League reconsider their suspension of the children in our program who are not at fault for this incident and allow our children to finish what they have started this season. Thanks to all of you for your understanding in this matter.

By the time you read this paper the elections probably will be over and our president for the next four years will be waiting to be inaugurated. Regardless of whom it may be let us be thankful for the greatest nation on earth and continue our climb toward higher heights. As this year winds down there are many things that we as a city can be thankful for. Once again we have balanced our budget and ended this year in the black. We have received grants that helped in many of our city projects and our prospect for more businesses look good. There are many other things that can be said but the time and space does not allow. Only know that our city is fiscally sound.

For these things I give thanks during this season. The Masai tribe in West Africa has an unusual way of saying “thank you.” Translators tell us that when the Masai express thanks, they bow, put their forehead on the ground and say, “My head is in the dirt.” When members of another African tribe want to express thanks, they sit for a long time in front of the hut of the person who did the favor and literally say, “I sit on the ground before you.” Those Africans understand well what Thanksgiving is and why it is different for us: at its core, thanksgiving is an act of humility. Our country recognizes this also. In 1789, our nation’s first President, George Washington, issued the following proclamation: “Whereas, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, and Whereas both houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, Now therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these states to the service of that great and glorious being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.” Our forefathers were not so much thankful for something as they were thankful in something. In abundance or in want, they were thankful. In feast or in famine, they were thankful. In joy or in misery, they were thankful. There is a big difference between being thankful for things and being thankful in all things. When we look at the big picture it should prompt us to give thanks. If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of one hundred people; here’s the way the world would look: There would be 57 Asians, 21 Europeans, 14 from the Western Hemisphere, and 8 Africans. There would be 50 suffering from malnutrition and one would be near death. Only one would have a college education, and only one would own a computer. There would be 80 living in substandard housing; 70 would be unable to read; 6 would possess 59% of the world’s wealth and all six would be from North America. As a nation we are better off than three billion people in this regard.

We have money in the bank and spare change in a dish, food in the refrigerator, clothes on our backs, and a roof over our heads. We are richer than 75% of this world. However, we only remember to be thankful when our creature comforts are interrupted. Our power is shut off, and suddenly we become thankful for electricity. Our garbage is not picked up, and suddenly we become thankful for the garbage collector’s weekly stop. A good friend dies, and suddenly we discover how much he meant to us. Our water becomes too polluted to drink and suddenly we appreciate having good water. Why is it that, we take for granted the uncounted blessings of life until they are removed from us? In and old comic strip, It is Thanksgiving Day and the aroma of roast turkey fills Charlie Brown’s house. Snoopy, outside lying on top of his doghouse, smells that aroma and he is thinking, “It’s Thanksgiving Day.

Everybody eats turkey on Thanksgiving Day.” So he lies there, watching the back door, eagerly awaiting his Thanksgiving dinner. Finally, the door opens and here comes Charlie Brown with a bowl of dog food, and he puts it on the ground. Snoopy gets off his house and stares at the dog food with a forlorn look on his face, and he thinks, “Just because I’m a dog, I have to eat dog food on Thanksgiving Day.” Then the next square shows Snoopy looking at the dog food more intently, and he is thinking, “It could be worse. I could be the turkey.” Let us remember, this Thanksgiving to be thankful for what we have. Thankful for those on whose shoulders we stand that made possible our freedom. Alex Haley, the author of “Roots,” had an unusual picture hanging on his office wall. It was a picture of a turtle on top of a fence post. When asked, “Why is that there?” Alex Haley answered, “Every time I write something significant, every time I read my words and think that they are wonderful, and begin to feel proud of myself, I look at the turtle on top of the fence post and remember that he didn’t get there on his own. He had help.” That is the basis of thankfulness – to remember that we got here with the sacrifice of brave men and women and the help of God, and that He is the provider of every blessing we have. Thanksgiving has come a long way since the time of the Pilgrims and Indians. Today, it is an opportunity to get the family together to watch football and feast on turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. Sure, we know that you are thankful when your favorite team wins the big game, but do you really take the time to verbalize your gratitude for bigger things? Do you tell your loved ones how much they mean to you? Take advantage of this holiday and the month that surrounds it and remember this statement, “People who are truly thankful do not complain they find a reason to be grateful.” In closing I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving as you give thanks for what you have as you strive for the things you want.


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