Thankful and grateful

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It is the end of the year. Christmas is here and a New Year is only a week away. Now is a good time to reflect on the year past and what future awaits us.

The world is full of religious animosity, hate and anger. Proclaiming your faith, if it is not part of the state approved religions, can open one up to persecution and even death. China, the Middle East and parts of Africa all have cultures and laws that clearly are detrimental to the mere concept of freedom of religion.

We are truly blessed in this nation that we do not have a state-sponsored religion. We can worship when and how we choose. That Constitutional right is something that the rest of world cannot seem to achieve, yet we minimize it and take it for granted. We truly need to remember that freedom at this point in the year.

We are a nation of laws where all are considered equals under that law. We are not a nation of privileged rank and dominance by any segment of society. We all have a vote and can voice our opinions without fear of imprisonment for simply voicing our opinions. This nation has shed the blood of its citizens to first achieve that standard and then more blood to fight the wars to maintain it. We should be always thankful and grateful to our veterans and our forefathers for their efforts and wisdom in developing and maintaining this great nation.

Locally we have wonderful local schools with school boards that support parents and the educating of our children. The education of our youth is to prepare them for adulthood and not to indoctrinate them into any specific ideology. That concept is seeing a challenge in parts of this country.

Fortunately, those who love our freedoms are pushing back. We have excellent colleges and universities within an hour’s drive of Clinton. We do not have to travel across the nation to attend centers of higher education. Those centers are in our backdoor.

That same hour’s drive provides all that want to work with employment at jobs that pay well. If you want to work, there is a job available for you.

Locally, our taxes from townships to county government are among the lowest in the state and probably the nation. Our elected officials are frugal and simply are adverse to wasting the taxpayer’s dollars. The county and local governments have all benefited from the tax revenue of the Power Plant, the Landfill and Wind Turbines. Granted, all three entities come with some downsides, but we all like the financial benefits they afford local government. Take that revenue away and DeWitt County would look very different.

Locally we have a hospital and medical/dental facilities. That is not the norm in many rural counties in Illinois. We have a county-wide ambulance service and very capable volunteer fire departments. Our elected officials have truly put in the effort to provide for the safety of our residents.

Clinton has two well stocked grocery stores that provide for our residents. We don’t have to go out of town for groceries. Both stores provide for several skilled positions and each provides that entry level position that many high school students need to enter the workforce.

If you want to purchase a car, Clinton is the town. Three local families own the three dealerships that are in Clinton. People drive from 50 miles around to buy a car in Clinton. Besides the jobs these dealerships provide, they all contribute some serious sales tax revenue to the local economy.

We should all be thankful and grateful for our local merchants. Buying products locally insures that we can continue to have their presence sin Clinton.

More importantly, remember that freedom of religion. Churches will be having services on Sunday and may will have a Christmas Eve service. Please exercise your freedom of religion and attend the service of your choice.  MERRY CHRISTMAS.