NCW Essay Contest Winner

by Kurt Buss
As a Baby Boomer, I’ve lived long enough to be thankful for many things—and I’m most thankful for
that. With Cuba in the news following Castro’s death I’m reminded of the Cold War, and how close
the world came to nuclear annihilation when the Soviet Union put ballistic missile installations on
that nearby island, and then sent a naval fleet with the warheads to arm those missiles on its merry
way to Havana. I’m thankful JFK was our president and Nikita Khrushchev wasn’t as crazy as he
often appeared.
Because of how things played out in those moments, I was enabled to live a rich life. I could
continue growing up in a small farm town in central Wisconsin and work at our family’s cheese
factory. I was able to attend college (even graduate), do some traveling, get married, and move to
I’m thankful that we migrated to Colorado, found meaningful jobs, and started a family. I’ll be
celebrating the dual college graduation ceremonies of my children in a few weeks. CU-Denver in the
morning, CSU in Fort Collins that afternoon.
I’m prayerfully thankful that my offspring have been fortunate, and haven’t had to suffer the
tragedies that all too often haunt children of any generation.
And yes, even after a presidential campaign that would have made P.T. Barnum twitter with
delight (and not limited to 140 characters), I am thankful to live in a country that affords me the
opportunity to exist in relatively minimal fear. It could be worse.
I think if the world was able to survive the Cold War we must be destined for something. I’ll bet if
we look beyond the headlines on our smartphones we’ll discover a natural intuition, and the things
to be thankful for will be limitless.