November 14, 2018



A few days ago we celebrated Veterans Day. To honor those who served. It signified a war that ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. I hope you gave our veterans a little of your time on that sacred day. Whether it be with a prayer, a silent salute, a phone call, or maybe just a moment of silence.  Veterans Day is about more than buying a mattress on sale. That is really dumb.
My column is going to be just a little different this week. I guess maybe it is the time of the year. But, with Thanksgiving and Christmas and all, I just thought maybe it is time to kind of bow our heads and think back on a few things.
I’m on my 17th trip around the sun, and I guess we have been at war with someone pretty much my entire life. The Korean War, Vietnam War, and numerous unofficial wars called conflicts. We’ve had a war on drugs and a war on terror. Sometimes we on the Northern Plains feel that we are quite isolated and immune from these wars.  
That changed a few years ago on Sept. 11.
I was watching the news that morning when the bulletins and filming began of the twin towers. I felt a range of emotions in a few minutes that I had never experienced before in such a short time. Surprise, as I watched the first tower burning and heard that a plane had struck it. Shock, as I saw the second plane slam into the tower. Fear, as word came over the news that the Pentagon had been attacked. Anger, that someone would attack us in our home.
I cried as I thought of the thousands of people trapped in those burning towers. I marveled at the bravery of the firemen who struggled up those stairs knowing that they were moments away from disaster. And I cried as those towers crashed to the ground, knowing the lives of those rescue workers were over. I think America, and the world, cried with me.
We have been at war since then in countries that before, I couldn’t have found on a map. We shed tears as young men and women kiss their families goodbye and fly or sail off to war. We don’t understand war. We never have. But we know it is necessary.
And we wonder what we can do to help. We can help by doing what we do best. If you’re a farmer, keep farming. Do your best to make sure that no one in the world goes to bed hungry at night. If you’re a teacher, love those kids, and your job. You are one of the chosen few who can make those children understand this mixed up world. If you’re a parent, give those kids a kiss on the cheek when you tuck them in. And give them a hug as they get on that school bus. And tell them everything will be alright. They need that. Heck, I do.
Say a prayer of thanks that you live in North Dakota. We might get a storm once in awhile. We might get a flood once in awhile. We might have a drought once in awhile. The roads might get a little rough and the cattle prices might fall. Grain might be cheap and our small towns struggling. But if you need help, a neighbor down the road will show up. Or from across the street. The town cop knows your name and where your kids are. You can leave your car unlocked, heck, leave it running, and it’ll be there when you come out. The grass is going to grow and the crocuses will bloom in the spring. Just be sure you see them.