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November 27, 2014

The Best Thanksgiving is Today

Harry M. Covert

Regardless of when or where who started this feast day or who set aside the fourth Thursday of November, Thanksgiving Day is one of remembrance, joy and hope.


The "why," of course, goes without saying?


While many people like to think only of bad things throughout the land, today's the opportunity to enjoy all of the blessings and attributes of living in Frederick, Maryland, and America.


To many it can be more fun to point out unpleasant things that regularly grace the news and conversations in coffee klatches, tea rooms and other refreshment centers.


The vast majority of our fellow citizens enjoy lives in every quarter with good families, fine colleagues and overwhelming successes.


There is no place any better around the world. Those who are constantly mad at the world need only visit other countries.


At the conclusion of a relief trip to Zaire two decades ago, our team was flown from Kinshasa, then in Zaire, now The Congo, headed to Brussels, Belgium. In the middle of the night, 2 o'clock to be exact, the plane was forced to make an emergency landing in Bangui, Central African Republic. The plane’s gas tanks were almost empty. We travelers were more than a bit apprehensive. All right, scared silly.


It's at this point a Thanksgiving spirit crosses your mind to help remove the fear and trembling.


At landing, the uniformed Zairian pilot deplaned with two black satchels, really suitcases. He allowed some of the 26 passengers to get off to stretch aching legs. Then a shock. A short distance away, five French military planes packed with troops in khaki battle gear and rifles at the ready appeared. Everyone scrambled back to our plane seats.


Only a small light bulb burned at the door of the airport shack. The frightened airport manager had raced home, running. The pilot managed a French army jeep ride to the manager's home. It was imperative to get away. His purpose was to find jet fuel. His bags were filled with sparking Zairian diamonds and various gems, big ones.


With the help of the French paratroopers, the terrified fuel man was brought back to the runway. Then Zairian President Mobutu's plane was filled.


Thankfully, the troopers made certain our takeoff was without trouble. A few hours later Zaire Plane One reached Belgium. Relief, happiness and smiles were on every face.


News stories report the plights of Americans being held in foreign countries. To name a few, Iran still detains a former FBI agent and an Iranian-American Christian minister; Cuba still imprisons a Maryland man; while another kidnapped Marylander is missing in Pakistan.


Many other Americans are suffering around the world.


While enjoying repasts of all sorts today and throughout the "holy-days" of Hanukkah and Christmas, there's plenty to be happy about. Make a list and don't forget friends and neighbors and our compatriots around the globe, often cynically called do-gooders. These people are heroes.


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