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Wayne's Words: The Holiday Season!

Wayne Horne | 11/15/2018, 6 a.m.
Next week begins the traditional holiday season. Thanksgiving Day, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Day are major holiday celebrations ...

Next week begins the traditional holiday season. Thanksgiving Day, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Day are major holiday celebrations for most of us. The Thanksgiving holiday provides an opportunity to pause and reflect on the blessings and good fortune many of us enjoy. It is also a time to remember those who may not be as fortunate. The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days. Most Government agencies take the Thanksgiving holiday very serious since they close up for a full four days. Elected officials in Federal and State government are “home for the holidays”. Local officials will conduct some meetings through the holidays but, generally, not much gets done.

It was Abraham Lincoln who first formalized the celebration of a national day of Thanksgiving to be held on the last Thursday of November. That date endured as Thanksgiving Day until President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the day to the Fourth Thursday of November in order to add a few more days for Christmas shopping in 1939.

It’s a time to review the good fortune we are thankful for the past year. Below are a few items this columnist is thankful for because they provided topics for comment and analysis…

Last year (2017), the City of Joliet installed lights at all of the city-owned flag pavilions. This was a project that was first brought up more than seven years ago. The lights allow the U.S. flag to be displayed 24/7. The city also committed to replacing the worn and tattered flags when necessary and to present the flags at half-staff when appropriate. The Joliet Fire Department is in charge of the responsibility for the flags. Thank you.

When the Joliet Slammers replaced the Joliet Jackhammers at the city-owned baseball field, now known as Joliet Route 66 Stadium, the promise that the rent would be paid was sufficient to secure a lease. Since then, attendance has slid from over 200,000 fans in the stands that first season to just over 88,000 in 2018. The attendance stats included the playoffs and the league championship. The promise of improved attendance secured a new five-year lease at what is considered pretty low rent. The Slammers have hired a marketing manager who has assured the Joliet City Council a vastly improved attendance record in the future. We’ll see.

Some of the other topics still around that continue to provide good copy are Evergreen Terrace (now known as Riverwalk Homes, LLC), the city budget, and the Rialto Theatre. When the city council reviews the budget at its next meeting it will be about five years since former City Manager Jim Hock promised to include a four-year projection of revenues and expenses. Recently resigned City Manager David Hales also promised such a document would be included in the city budget. No such result to date. Again, we’ll see.

One last thing…a Veterans Day observance was held on Sunday in front of the Will County courthouse. As is typical of most Veterans Day ceremonies the temperature was cold, in the 30’s. Those in attendance were there to honor veterans’ past and present. If it had been snowing or raining, they would have been there. Most who were there did so out of respect for veterans. It was an inconvenient weather day. Standing in the cold for an hour is not pleasant. It was a minor sacrifice. But they were there. Thank you for showing up.

A couple of things that have no place on Veterans Day should be remembered for the future. One is the old cliché that “just showing up is half the battle” comes to mind. Imagine if the soldier on the battlefield called “time out” if it rained or it was too hot or too cold. Unfortunately, that’s not an option. Another was the controversy bandied about regarding whether the World War I 100-year anniversary events were celebrations or commemorations. Really?! How trite. The events were about who showed up. The concept of such events is to remember those who served and the sacrifices they endured. No one wins in war. The soldier’s job is to end conflict. It helps us all to remember that.

Stay tuned...

Contact Wayne at wayneswords@thetimesweekly.com