A Debt of Gratitude

  Zandra Wolfgram, EditorA Debt of GratitudeBy Zandra Wolfgram

“Be grateful and your life will be abundant.” This is an adage I remind myself of from time to time. Some folks keep an Abundance Journal, others voice what they are thankful for before a family dinner. However you keep stock of your blessings, the fact is, those of us who live in the United States are quite fortunate.

As fall approaches, we near the 10th anniversary of the terrible events of 9/11. That sobering day was one of sacrifice for thousands of Americans who were innocent victims. Many lost their lives simply because they showed up at the office for work. Others gave their lives in an effort to save their unsuspecting friends and neighbors from the most horrific terrorist act committed on American soil. That day, they all became American heroes we will never forget.

Our Giving Back story reflects on what it means to us to have a National Day of Service on Sept. 11. It takes a look at volunteerism along the Emerald Coast. There are so many amazing charities in our area which provide our community much needed services, support and help, but they are not viable without the daily dedication of thousands of Emerald Coasters who commit countless hours of their personal time making sure they survive, if not thrive. These locals understand what it means to give back, to have a sense of duty. They personify what it means to live American values.

These very people are why the Emerald Coast has a strong sense of Quality of Place. This is a phrase I learned recently from Marcia Hull of the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation. Ms. Hull (“The Arts are Alive” feature), who also has a strong sense of community pride and duty, has made it her personal mission to raise awareness of the arts in our community. She is passionate about the idea that the arts are integral to any destination of quality.

This sense of duty, drive and generosity is a common quality in those who call the Emerald Coast home. It is why 21-year-old entrepreneur Krys-Tina Scott, featured in Snapshot, won a scholarship to open a business. Her community is based on American values and chooses to reward those who celebrate and demonstrate an indomitable American spirit.  

I deeply appreciate that we have established a National Day of Service. But it doesn’t appear the Emerald Coast needed any urging. To feel patriotic, to have a sense of duty, to be a hero — we need only look within.

This fall in particular, we honor all of the Americans who lost their lives at the hands of terrorists or while serving our country. And we warmly welcome the Army’s 7th Special Forces Group to the Emerald Coast. We are grateful for your sacrifice and courage; our lives are abundant because of you.