Times Examiner Facebook Logo

Sunday, July 14, 2024 - 06:07 PM


First Published in 1994


Despite all the lies, deception and fraud taking place around us, most of us have much to be thankful for. It is my desire to use this space for something positive for a change. So here goes.

I have been blessed to live in this constitutional republic during what I believe have been its greatest years. My generation survived the great depression and came out stronger. We saw parents, uncles and neighbors leave for World War II, defeat the tyrants, and return to fuel the greatest economic engine and produce the highest standard of living the world has ever known.

We had an opportunity to serve our country and help stave off Communism in Korea, Vietnam and across Europe during the Cold War. During our childbearing years, no one would dare attack our country.

I am thankful that I have memories of times when we could trust our neighbors with our property and trust their word as their bond. It was a time when a handshake provided more financial security than a written contract does today. It was a time when families, neighbors and churches took care of their own and government assistance was not available or wanted. It was a time when local communities owned their own schools, levied their own school taxes, hired their own teachers and selected their own textbooks. It was a time when the children of sharecroppers, who went barefoot until Christmas, and little girls who wore dresses made from print cloth flour bags went on to become engineers, attorneys, doctors and developers of successful business organizations.

I am thankful to have grown up In the Bible Belt where most people were affiliated with a church and even those who were not, openly showed respect for those who were. It was a time when most people at least attempted to live according to the Ten Commandments, and those who did not were held accountable by their neighbors.

I am thankful that I am the descendant of a bloodline that had a natural distrust for slick-talking strangers until they proved themselves worthy of trust. They were fiercely loyal to their friends until they proved not to be friends. They were loyal to the British Crown until their freedom was threatened and then they fought with everything they had at Cowpens, Kings Mountain and elsewhere. They resisted secession and were loyal to the Union until their state was invaded, their wives and daughters mistreated, their animals stolen, their barns and homes burned. It was then that they committed all that they had to the battle.

I am thankful that I recall hearing my great grandmother Elisabeth Fowler Beacham, a small blind woman in her 90s, discuss the horrors of war and military occupation at the mercy of the Union Army and abusive occupation troops. The men were all away at war. They were farmers and owned no slaves. It was only the young girls and their mother. When they heard reports of approaching Union troops, her mother would smear blackberry jam on the arms and legs of the young girls and hide them in a briar patch so that if they were found, troops intent on rape would think the girls were diseased. They were never found by soldiers, however my great grandmother remembered the bees and ants attracted by the jam.

The invading troops of Sherman’s Army did not torch the home, but took all the food from the pantry, the meat from the smokehouse and led off the family cow.

As a child I recall thinking, we will never allow our country to be invaded and occupied by strangers again. Unfortunately, history has been revised and people have forgotten and those who do not learn from history may live to repeat it.

I am thankful for a loving wife of more than 6 decades who has sacrificed much during my 27 years of military service and 20 years of publishing The Times Examiner.  During the early days she more than I raised two sons that have made us proud. I spent a year in Korea and a year in Vietnam during their early school years.

Finally, I am thankful for the many friends, subscribers, volunteers, advertisers, financial supporters and encouragers who have made a demanding labor of love possible for a hillbilly farm boy who reluctantly became a career soldier and only through the blessings of God founded a newspaper that is now reaching readers in all sections of the nation.