When a certain work assignment brought me to Nebraska for two weeks, this Canadian was given a wonderful opportunity to become immersed not only in the passion and pride of American culture, but in the generous nature of the Heartland.

I was celebrating my first ever Memorial Day when one of my local friends invited me to join her, along with many other community members, to place 900 American flags in the small town’s park before the holiday ceremony to commemorate veterans lost in war. I enthusiastically accept her thoughtful invitation.

Following the emotional service, we wandered over to see a display of military memorabilia from the little American town. Scattered among these reminders of the past were hundreds of postcards written to veterans by local school children.

It was quickly obvious that the teachers must have coached the children with examples of what to write, because table after table was filled with postcards that contained the same three messages – except for one that was written by a child named Emily, saying: “THANK YOU FOR PROTECTING THE GOOD.”

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I stood and stared at the postcard for a long time, contemplating this big message from such a little girl. For me, its meaning went far beyond the original intention of the postcard.

US military photo

As I absorbed Emily’s words, Mike McCardell suddenly jumped into my mind. Mike is a reporter for a local news program in my home province of British Columbia. For more than thirty years, Mike wrapped up the last five minutes of the six o’clock news with a feel good story, celebrating the people and places of Vancouver. Some BC-er’s would even go so far as to say that Mike’s segment was the best part of the program – and it was the only reason why they watched the news.

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He has since retired from broadcasting, but his lens on the world and his eye for the human condition still inspires me to look for, and even protect, the good in everyday life – to make a conscious decision to celebrate what’s right.

In a world that can often be preoccupied with the bad, I am grateful for guides like Emily and Mike who remind me to seek, celebrate and protect THE GOOD… in myself, in others, and in life.

Since 1997, Lauri Gwilt has centered her career on assisting people from across North America to discover the connection between how they’re thinking, and how their lives go. She is co-author and co-host of The Habit of Celebration, an e-course from the Celebrate What’s Right initiative developed with former National Geographic Photographer, Dewitt Jones.

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