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Most of us are familiar with the story of the pilgrims and their first “Thanksgiving” feast with the native people that befriended them upon their arrival in Plymouth.

They still had a long, hard road to travel, and not all the pilgrims who had survived the sea voyage would survive the coming winter. Yet, they gave thanks for the food on their table.

Thanksgiving is about seeing the glass half full, rather than half empty. It’s about accepting the difficulties we face while at the same time recognizing that things could be worse. This philosophy doesn’t always apply, but usually it does.

While the practice of being grateful is an everyday affair, Thanksgiving Day presents us with a time to gather together and be thankful for all we have.

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, we can’t help but think about a Shirley soldier deployed to Iraq. Speaking to his mother, Jane, via telephone during the town’s Veterans Day ceremony, Army Spc. Michael Robbins was asked what he wanted for Christmas. “I want to come home,” he answered.

This Thanksgiving, we are deeply grateful for the soldiers who answered our nation’s call, and for the families, like Jane Robbins’, who carry on in their absence, one day at a time.

We are grateful for all the good things in our lives and will do our best to cope with, and resolve, the rest.

Casella case settled

GGroton-Dunstable’s school committee has decided to end its legal battle over the amount of money to be paid to the Casella family for the 177 acres on which the school district’s new high school was built.

During a very contentious campaign to build the new high school, taxpayers agreed to take the Casella property by eminent domain in 2000, giving the family $1.8 million for its land though it was reportedly appraised for significantly more.

Now, at the end of the legal fight, the town must pay the family $2.8 million on top of the $1.8 million already agreed to. The settlement will be very costly for taxpayers.

There were many at the time who said the amount being paid for the land was a sham, just to get the high school built. Though most of the officials involved are now out of the picture, the end result is as predicted. The high school was built and taxpayers will pay much more than the $1.8 million they agreed to pay.

The outcome seems to land in the naysayers’ court.

Message

from Walter Reed

Walter Reed Army Medical Center officials want to remind those individuals who want to show their appreciation through the mail, to include packages, letters and holiday cards addressed to “Any Wounded Soldier” or “A Recovering American Soldier,” that Walter Reed cannot accept these packages, in support of the decision by the then-Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Transportation Policy in 2001.

This decision was made to ensure the safety and well-being of patients and staff at medical centers throughout the Department of Defense.

In addition, the U.S. Postal Service is no longer accepting “Any Service Member” or “A Recovering American Soldier” letters or packages. Mail to “Any Service Member” that is deposited into a collection box will not be delivered.

Please consider making a donation to one of the more than 300 nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping our troops and their families listed on the “America Supports You” Web site, www.americasupportsyou.mil.

Other organizations that offer a means of showing your support for our troops or assist wounded service members and their families include:

www.usocares.org.

www4.army.mil/ocpa/tooursoldiers.

www.redcross.org.

For individuals without computer access, your local military installation, or the local National Guard or military reserve unit in your area, may offer the best alternative to show your support to our returning troops and their families. Walter Reed Army Medical Center will continue to receive, process and deliver all mail that is addressed to a specific individual.

As Walter Reed continues to enhance the medical care and procedures for our returning service members, it must also keep its patients and staff members safe while following Department of Defense policy. The outpouring of encouragement from the general public, corporate America and civic groups throughout the past year has been incredible. Our Warriors in Transition are amazed at the thanks and support they receive from their countrymen.

This information was forwarded to us courtesy of the American Legion in Shirley.