By: Dan Camenga
The time between Thanksgiving and the New Year is a season of celebration, a time for family, and an opportunity to reflect. This time starts with gratitude and culminates with personal resolutions that will make us healthier, stronger, and happier. It is truly a wonderful time.
Within this time of joy, we must now insert an increasing number of remembrance days – for those who we have lost. Today is the anniversary of one of those days. Three years later, Newtown continues to be a sharp reminder of the importance of life and the unending questions about security and social path we should take as communities, states, and as a country.
Of course, December 2nd must now be added to December 14th as a day of national reflection. Symbolically serving as geographic bookends to terrible story of human betrayal, the Newtown and San Bernardino tragedies cross significant geographical distance and touch all faiths, races, and ethnicities. Furthermore, these December tragedies both highlight a deep desire across our country to continue the great American journey. If we momentarily set aside the political and social debates about deciding which path to travel, we can see our common bond. That is, our universal desire to have time with our family and opportunities to share our stories of gratitude.
More than ever, I see the need for public gardens throughout our American communities. It’s not just about having pretty places to help make our cities and towns unique and welcoming, it’s about social justice. Time with beautiful, designed spaces should not be an exclusive right of a certain class of our society able to afford large properties with high fences. No, time in the garden should be an American experience as commonly celebrated as Thanksgiving pies and New Year’s fireworks.
During this holiday season, please take a moment and consider special times you have had at public gardens – or plan new visits as part of your New Year’s resolutions! Let’s avoid the bunker mentality and encourage all faiths, races, and ethnicities to find common ground in the garden.