Many customs and traditions in our life have been drastically interrupted as of late due to the pandemic crisis.
Even though our life is certainly not what I would call normal right now, I don’t think anything can stop this month from being one where we show our gratitude for what we have and for each other. Two weeks ago, we all stopped to say a word of thanks to our veterans for serving our country and, this week, the hectic schedule of our lives will slow down drastically as we observe Thanksgiving with family and friends.
During the period of honoring our veterans I was reminded of what it truly feels like for someone to show their gratitude.
My father turned 95 years old the first week of November.
While we had him at our house to celebrate this occasion, three of the highest-ranking officers of Camp Shelby took time out of their busy schedule on a Saturday to come to our house to thank my father for his service in the army and to commemorate his 95th birthday.
My father is one of the few surviving World War II veterans, and these gentlemen cared enough to come and offer thanks to him for his service.
I know what this meant to my father, but it was also special to the entire family for people outside of our family to do something like this for him. This was a huge reminder to me of the importance of saying thank you and the impact it can make on so many people.
It is still not too late to thank a veteran for their service even though Veteran’s Day is over, so please use this season of Thanksgiving to do so.
In addition to our veterans, let me also offer a suggestion of another group of loyal individuals who need and deserve our thanks for what they do.
Now, more than ever, those serving in the education field need a word of encouragement and a word of thanks for what they do as they teach and take care of our young people during this very unusual time in history.
Having been in this field for the last 35 years, I had the opportunity to serve alongside some of the greatest individuals this world has to offer.
No one I have met in the field of education chose this field for the thanks they receive but rather for the greater good of helping young people and serving their community.
Even though they are not in it for the thanks and praise, this is an excellent opportunity to take a moment to honor them by sending a note, text, email or by taking the time to speak to them personally to thank them for their service.
The pandemic is tough on everyone, but our educators are having to adjust on a daily basis to meet safety guidelines, adjust their methods of instruction and most importantly make sure the students they serve are making it through this crisis.
I certainly have missed thousands of opportunities to thank educators and all associated with education who have had an impact on my life.
From my first teacher in the Pine Belt, Mrs. Reynolds of Purvis Elementary, to my high school band director who played such a huge part in my life, John Blakeney, to the President of William Carey University, Dr. Tommy King, who is now a great mentor and leader, I say thank you.
In between those individuals who span roughly 50 years of my life, there are thousands of teachers, administrators, support staff, students, parents and school board members who I have missed many opportunities to say thank you.
Please join me in resolving to use this season of Thanksgiving to offer our sincere gratitude for those who have impacted our life in so many ways.
In spite of the current health crisis, this is truly a time for Thanksgiving.
Dr. Ben Burnett of Hattiesburg is executive vice president at William Carey University. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.