Each year, we come together to celebrate the passing of the old year, letting go of all that was troubling and difficult, as well as remembering all the good things that the year held for us, and to ring in the new year with all of the hopes and dreams that we have for the coming 365 days.
This past year has been another difficult year with the continuing travails of the COVID pandemic. Many of us have lost loved ones over the course of the year, and there are, as is always true in human existence, many things that we all carry from the year that is passing away in the forms of anger, disappointments, and sorrows. But there are also many things that we can look back on as being true blessings, causes of great joy, and maybe even some accomplishments for which we have reason to be proud. And, because we are human, we are also embued with great capacity for hope in the coming year.
On New Years Day every year, we celebrate in the context of that infinite capacity for hope. This New Year’s Day, we can celebrate the fact that our 20 years’ involvement in Afghanistan is over. This new year will be the first one in two decades where we don’t have American troops engaged in an ongoing, hot war anywhere in the world. True, we still have men and women deployed in some very dangerous areas, but for the first time in twenty years, we have entered a new year not engaged actively in the full realities of war. This we can celebrate on behalf of our troops and on behalf of their families.
Our hopes for a safer, more productive, and peaceful world are proper. We know that there are no guarantees for this, but we also know that we all must do our small parts in our families, neighborhoods, towns, and cities to bring more justice, more care, more benevolence into the worlds we each live in locally.
We know that to face the unpredictables that the future brings, we must prepare and develop the necessary interior and exterior skills to handle them when they arise. We can be assured that our military will continue to sharpen those skills that will be necessary to promote and protect the peace that we all hold dear.
The old adage that I like to lean into more and more often is, “When one door is closed, another opens.” The door on the year 2021 is closing, and the new, welcome, and mysterious door of the New Year is here before us. Let us gladly let the old door close and look forward in hope to a new year that will bring its share of good things for us to celebrate.
Let us learn from the errors of the past and honor the future by preparing ourselves to be responsible and generous and committed to being “all that we can be,” for each other and for the good of our great nation. Let us let go of the things that divide us and grasp onto the things that will make our nation whole, one, and just for all. In the end, it is not the government that makes a peaceful, just, and great nation; it is the goodness, the generosity, the self-sacrifice, and the commitment to justice demonstrated and lived out by each of us as “We The People” that makes a nation great.
This video is simply the visual of New Year’s fireworks over Washington, D.C. and is backed by patriotic music presented by all of our nation’s military bands. Happy New Year to all of our military, our veterans, and their families, and to all of you who so generously help us serve our veterans here at The Veterans Site.