Forgiveness and Thanksgiving

By  Paul Reuter, Chairman emeritus and contributing editor

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I am taking the time in this column to share with you a message I wrote to our CSP team on the evening of 9/11: “Being back in New York City over the weekend for the 10th anniversary of 9/11 conjured up lots of different emotions, as I am sure you all had, regardless of where you are today.

“We all vividly remember that day 10 years ago like it was 10 minutes ago. We will never forget this generation’s Pearl Harbor, a day that brought the United States and the world shock, disbelief and sadness and so much more. “However, in the days and weeks following 9/11, much goodness and fellowship surfaced. People took stock in what was really important in life. A greater respect and appreciation for our fellow man emerged, and acts of kindness and concern were plentiful. As time went on, many commented they wished we could have captured those days and kept that spirit alive and well for all time.

“Well, let me offer a slight twist on that wish. After being at Battery Park and seeing the 3,000 flags planted, and attending a memorial mass with many from the New York Fire Department as they honored the 343 comrades who died that day, I know that the goodness is alive and well. We exited St. Patrick’s this morning with the entire church singing ‘God Bless America’ amid rousing applause as the fire department marched out. It was a packed house of people from all walks of life and countries.

“I think we all know that wherever we are today, these feelings of love, pride, respect and more are within us all. They may show up in ‘special dress’ on an emotional day such as today, but we all know this goodness resides within us.

“Perhaps one of greatest takeaways for me today came from the pulpit. On a day with so many remembering those who lost their lives and understanding that Sept. 11, 2001, ushered in a new world of terror and hatred the likes of which we in the United States had not previously experienced, it was at first a bit perplexing for me to hear about forgiveness. I kept thinking: How in the world can we forgive those who inflicted so much pain?

“The message, however, is a powerful one: Forgiveness sets you free. Today, take a little time to think about how you can forgive someone, and how that letting go will in fact move you to a better place.

“Thanks for listening. My best wishes for all of you today, sharing in gratitude, appreciating all we have to be thankful for—and especially for all the great tomorrows ahead.”

When we stop and think about just how much we have to be grateful for, my hope is that this indeed will be the happiest of Thanksgivings for you and all in your world. 

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