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Mayor's Report for December 2001/January 2002

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§ Town History Center Committee Report December 2001

A Time to Reflect

By Mayor Michael Herman

The holiday season is upon us. As we move towards another year, we use this time to reflect on the past year and count our many blessings. During this time of year we often redouble our efforts to find ways to help our community, both the community of Riverdale Park, as well as the larger communities of Prince George's County, the state, nation, or even the world. Everyone does their part to try to find and create greater happiness. During this season, I do visitations to hospitals and nursing homes and help with food preparation at a local shelter. Others I know organize Toys for Tots, go caroling in their neighborhood, or volunteer with one of the many worthwhile organizations providing services to those in need. Whatever is your way to share the holiday spirit with others, please try even harder this year.

This has been a tough year for many. The terrorist attacks, the local tornado, the down turn in the economy, and other events have made this a difficult holiday season for many in America and those closer to our home. While some families grieve, others are struggling just to get by. They are more concerned with feeding their children than protecting themselves against anthrax. As hard as it seems at times to just make it, there is someone, probably someone you know, who is struggling just as hard.

Take this opportunity to lend a hand or to let someone into your life who wants to help. Neighbors helping neighbors, friends helping friends, and people helping people, that is the true holiday spirit.

Every holiday season I reflect back on a random hospital visit I made to Washington Hospital Center many years ago. As I was going room to room on a brisk Christmas morning, I was providing cheer, comfort, and hope for many patients along with a group of 10 or so people. I ventured into a room where I met someone from our town who I had not seen for many months. She was delighted to see us and thought I made the special visit just for her. We talked, we chatted, and we sang together. It was to be the last time we would ever see each other. She died two months later from cancer. I always think of that story because it reminds me how precious and uncertain life truly is. That was a special day for both of us, and it probably did more for me than anyone. During this special time of year, we should draw close to each other because life is about the relationships we foster with our fellow travelers.

To all of the residents of our town, I wish you and all your families and friends a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, or a peaceful Ramadan. Whatever your faith or personal preference, please use this time to turn good deeds and to lighten the world's load just a little bit, even if in just your small corner of the world. Working together we can find that inner peace and make humanity better for it. Happy holidays and may next year be the best yet.

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