Starting the Conversation – Do We Appreciate What We Have?

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In my younger days, I would have given a resounding, “YES!” I was raised to be keenly aware of how bad my grandparents had it back in the old country and how lucky and fortunate we all are to be Americans. But somehow, in my mind, I pictured the old country being like an old photograph and really had nothing to do with us now.

Then, during the fall of communism and the subsequent wars that followed, friends of mine sponsored some relatives from Bosnia to save them from the war. I will never forget their first impressions of America. They just couldn’t get over how much we have and, consequently, take for granted. They really couldn’t get over our supermarkets, shelves stuffed to the brims with immense varieties of food, beautiful fresh produce of every kind…and the waste, especially of fresh produce that gets tossed every day. But then they saw the pet aisle. They were so shocked and said that the pets in this country eat better than the people in Bosnia were eating.

I am a VERY serious pet lover but those remarks really made me appreciate just how good we have it. I knew we had it good compared to other places but it never really hit home until then. It was definitely a defining moment. Now that I have traveled overseas, seen the abject poverty in other countries and families torn apart by violence, I worry, fear and dread war and violence within our own borders. Destroying just how wonderful we have it here.

But as always, what do you think? Let’s continue the conversation on my blog at, email me at or send me a “Letter to the Editor” at P.O Box 722 Wexford, PA 15090-0722 attn: Marianne Reid Anderson.