The unseasonably warm temperatures sure have made it more challenging to believe Christmas is just around the corner, let alone Old Man Winter, which has yet to fully surface in the Ozark Highlands.
But like Kris Kringle says in the movie Miracle on 34th Street, “Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind”..., and with the recent tragedies in Newtown, Connecticut and in neighboring St. James, this Christmas and holiday season will be wrought with mixed emotions that words cannot adequately express.
Sometimes unspeakable events like the Newtown, Connecticut tragedies are so profound, so horrific, and so unthinkable, that we are altered in ways that cannot be explained. We just know that something is different, and that our perception of the world beyond our doorsteps may not be what it once was.
And yet at the same time, we can draw inspiration from the courage, and heroism displayed by the first responders, and principal, teachers, psychologist and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School. And we can show our support through our thoughts and prayers and other acts of kindness such as cards or gifts to the families and community members in Newtown whose lives have been forever changed.
This is a time to be thinking of all of those who perished and were impacted during the awful shootings that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary. But I believe it is also a time for hope, the realization that we all share in the obligation of creating and sustaining a safe community filled with people who want to provide the best possible environment for our children to grow up and become happy, prosperous individuals.
There are many things to be thankful for this Christmas, but I know at the top of the list will be the first responders, members of the public safety and law enforcement community (and you know who you are), and equally as important the wonderful teachers, principals, administrators, counselors and faculty members who comprise not only the Rolla Public School system, but all the schools, colleges and universities in the Rolla area.
These folks are there to support, protect, nurture and enrich the lives and welfare of our children, our grandchildren and the youth of our community every day of the year.
I want to be thinking of what we have to be grateful in the Rolla area, as I reflect on the indisputable fact of how much the Newtown tragedies have shattered our once held belief that such an event could ever have happened in any town or city in the United States of America.
In closing, I would especially like to encourage everyone to drive safely throughout the holiday season, yes – even wear your seatbelt, and be mindful of weather conditions, which may change in a few hours in the Ozarks.
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There have been far too many automobile fatalities in the Phelps County and Rolla area in 2012, and I hope with a little more encouragement, and awareness of the dangers of texting and using our cell phones while driving, drinking while driving, and refraining from wearing seat belts, that we can greatly improve on the safety of everyone on the road, and significantly reduce the accidents that in 2012, resulted in so many unnecessary fatalities and serious injuries.
Have a merry and memorable Christmas, and most importantly of all, a safe holiday season!