The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

December 25, 2012

Eric Knopsnyder | Courage, wisdom, time, good judgment top gift list


JOHNSTOWN — The moment that children across the United States – and the world – have been waiting for has finally arrived: Christmas morning.

There’s nothing quite like the feeling, for a young child, of waking up and wondering exactly what Santa Claus left under the Christmas tree or put in his or her stocking.

The anticipation is almost as much fun as actually getting to open the gifts and play with them. Almost.

That feeling tends to fade as we grow older, but there’s still something about finding that perfect gift under the tree.

With that in mind, here’s my list, which I’ve checked twice, of gifts that I hope others found under their trees this morning:

Newtown, Conn.: Time. There is nothing that will heal the emotional and psychological wounds that the people of Newtown are dealing with except time. All of the kind words, gestures and memorials will help in some ways. The actions help donors feel better by trying to do something positive in response to the horrific actions of one troubled young man that resulted in the death of

20 students and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School. And the people of Newtown are undoubtedly grateful for how our nation has done what it can to comfort them. But for a parent whose 6-year-old son will never celebrate another birthday or for the husband whose wife will never come home from school again, the heartache will linger. It’s likely to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, no Christmas gift will change that. Only time can ease that kind of pain.

President Obama: Wisdom. That isn’t to suggest, as some do, that he doesn’t already possess wisdom. He does, and plenty of it. But he’ll need all he can muster in his second term to deal with the economic issues that have caused so many in our region and across the country to suffer; to cure the ills that plague our health care system; to sort out the financial mess that is Social Security; and to find a way to keep our schools safe from attacks like the one in Connecticut. Hopefully, he has the wisdom to resolve them in the best way possible for our country and our future.

Congress: Courage. President Obama isn’t alone in facing all of the tasks mentioned above. Our congressional leaders also share that burden. Unfortunately, politics often gets in the way of solving our problems. Here’s wishing that our elected leaders find enough courage in their Christmas stockings to do what’s best for the nation, even if that means making some decisions that won’t be popular with their respective parties and constituents.

Gov. Corbett: Good judgment. As with President Obama, this isn’t meant to suggest that the governor is devoid of this quality, but it wouldn’t hurt if he found a gift-wrapped box of it this morning. He’ll need plenty of it to deal with the problems plaguing Pennsylvania. From the state’s pension crisis to debates over natural gas drilling to the looming decision on privatization of the Pennsylvania Lottery, there are plenty of issues that will require more than he’s shown at times so far.

Johnstown Redevelopment Authority: Transparency. This one is difficult to wrap, as it’s hard to see, but it’s something that the board could definitely use this holiday season. The authority has been under pressure recently to be more open about its dealings. Hopefully, the authority can let in as much light as possible on how it’s operating in the future.

Penn State: Determination. More than a year after Jerry Sandusky’s arrest, the university is still trying to deal with the fallout. From severe penalties and fines that were imposed on its football program to looming court cases for former administrators, the university has had its sterling reputation dragged through the mud. Determination  can help remove those stains.

The children of our area: The joy of Christmas. The Tribune-Democrat’s Santa Fund, along with plenty of other worthwhile charities, worked to make sure that no children in the region went without a present this Christmas. Hopefully, most of the youngsters in our area were able to experience the wonderous joy of finding a new toy under the tree.

Eric Knopsnyder is the editor of The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at or 532-5091.

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