Things change, and in order to live successfully we generally have to accept even unwelcome changes and move on.
Sometimes things change because of tragic fires. The three-story school building where I was a student from 1945-55 was destroyed by fire in 1956. The farmhouse in which I lived during those same ten years was struck by lightning and burned down in the early 1960s. Last month a large portion of the west side of the square in my home town, Grant City, Missouri, completely burned down. (The picture of the latter fire is from the files of the St. Joseph News-Press.)
Things change, and we have to accept new realities and move on. A fine new school building was constructed in Grant City after fire destroyed the old one; the community moved on and was better off after the fire. My folks built a comfortable new house up the road from where the old house had been, so they, too, recovered from the shock of forced change and moved on to better things. And now those who owned the buildings and operated the businesses on the west side of the square in Grant City have to deal with unwelcome change and move on.
Things change in other ways. For example, the United States of America is much different now than it was when it was formed nearly 235 years ago. While this country was founded largely by Protestant Christians (although some of the “founding fathers” were not at all “orthodox” Protestants), gradually more and more Catholics and Jews came to this country.
There was considerable animosity toward the Catholic immigrants for decades, but fifty years ago this month, despite considerable (prejudicial) opposition by Protestants, a Catholic was elected President. Since then, for that reason and because of the impact of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), there have been increasingly cordial relationships between Protestants and Catholics.
There have also been pockets of prejudice against Jews in the U.S., but as the percentage of Jews has not been nearly as large as that of Catholics there has not been as much animosity toward them for the most part. Now there are sizeable numbers of Jews in most large U.S. cities—so much so that along with Christmas and Christian holidays, Hanukkah (which begins on Dec. 1 this year) and other Jewish holidays are commemorated even by some public schools.
Things change, and now there are large numbers of American citizens who are Muslims, Buddhists, and people of other religious faiths, a larger number of such persons than could have been imagined when I was a boy. As citizens, their religious freedom must be recognized and protected.