If I was asked what my most memorable New Year’s Eve was, I would have to say Dec. 31, 2012. My husband and I rushed out of our downtown apartment at
6:15 p.m. and headed to the First Presbyterian Church, where we had agreed to meet friends.
A light dusting of snowflakes fell as we rushed past Central Park and a group of carolers singing. Christmas lights shining in the dark sky and music filling the cold, clear air, it was like a moment from a Currier and Ives picture, unlike anything I had ever experienced.
We marveled at the beauty of the sanctuaries at First Lutheran, Franklin Street United Methodist and St. Mark’s churches. We waved greetings to the people riding through town in a horse-drawn carriage and gave a hug to a woman I recognized from the Family Kitchen.
Returning with our friends to our apartment, we enjoyed hot food and games. We were thrilled when the fireworks burst in full view from our apartment window, silhouetted by the bell tower of St. John Gualbert Cathedral.
At midnight, we toasted with eggnog spiked with 7-Up and bid our friends farewell. The next morning, I watched the Rose Bowl Parade on TV, remembering the many times I have been there.
Soon, I will return to my home in southern California, take off my black name badge and be with family again. But, I’ll tell anyone that Johnstown, Pa., is the place to be on New Year’s Eve.
Newborns are being unfairly saddled
To all the children born since Jan. 1, 2013, I say, “Welcome to the USA!”
According to the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Census Bureau, your Uncle Sam is presenting each of you with a debt of $52,152 to celebrate your arrival and to begin your life.
That is not all. In addition to the national debt, the U.S. has unfunded mandates for Social Security, Medicare and federal employee pensions totaling $87 trillion (Mort Zuckerman, Newsweek, Dec. 28).
This obligation is 550 percent of the nation’s current gross domestic product and amounts to a per-household debt that is 10 times the median family income.
You will certainly need to be an unusual generation in the history of our country. You will have to work hard and sacrifice not only to pay your own way but also to pay for the entitlements that we, your elders, have imposed upon you by electing the presidents and congresses of our lifetime.