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The Little Things In Life

February 20, 2009 - Bill Speer
Walking into the Bagel Stop at Neimans Family Market the other day for my morning cup of coffee, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Turning, I was greeted by a reader holding up the newspaper who said "thanks."

Wondering what the thanks was for, he pointed to an obituary where the American flag was included, indicating the deceased was a veteran. The flag was in color, which the reader said really made the obituaries of those in the armed forces "really jump off the page."

He said the gesture meant a lot to him and other veterans, and he was sharing the fact we had just started adding color to the flag to everyone he came in contact with.

It made me smile. I remembered to the day years ago when I called Mike Summers on the phone to tell him I was going to adopt the flag into our obituaries for veterans after he had lobbied I do so for several months, showing me examples of other newspapers that had done the same thing.

It was a little thing, but it meant the world to veterans like Summers to have their fellow vets remembered that way. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made as publisher.

Too often these days my world is filled with "gloom and doom." Newspapers especially have had a rough go of it lately. Yet you would never have known that the other day as a class of children toured the facility, anxious to see the press in operation. They didn't leave disappointed.

Moments like this make it all worthwhile. Yes we make mistakes. No we aren't perfect. Yes, we are trying to improve.

I hear about all our problems regularly. Thankfully, mixed in with that are the taps on the shoulder, the smiles on the face and hearing those magical two words: "Thank you."

Hearing that makes it all worthwhile.


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