I suppose the biggest plus for most of the free world was the fall of Saddam Hussein. As one of his many statues was toppled, it was only a matter of time until the cameras showed the face of a dirty, insect-infested, bearded man who had terrorized his people, ordered the deaths of hundreds and became a threat to the rest of the world.
It has been said a bit of good is always in the worst of men but nothing has come forth to prove that theory in the life of this evil dictator. He built lavish palaces for himself and his kin, owned most of the wealth of his bit of the world and looked at the value of life for others as nil.
We saw a young girl found wandering the streets of her nearby hometown with her deranged abductor and one of his equally cruel wives, with her face covered and her young body draped with a sheet.
She was returned to her family after they had spent agonizing months of searching and praying for her safe return. Elizabeth Smart was an innocent girl believing in the goodness of others and also finding evil and deception among those we meet in life’s journey.
She will never forget this experience and will never be the same trusting child, but she has restored the faith of many who watched as the story unfolded. Many saw her sweet smile and the tears of relief shed by her trusting parents as they stated all the time that she would be found.
The minus has been seen as a beautiful young woman was found at the bottom of a lake along with her baby boy whom she was carrying. The added cruelty of this was that the father of that baby and the husband of the slain mother-to-be is being held as a suspect in their murder. It was discovered he was having an affair with a woman who declares she believed him when he told her he was a single man.
It brought to mind the Susan Smith saga, as we watched her sob and declare her innocence in the drowning deaths of her two little boys, only to later confess she did this in order to obtain her desire to become a girlfriend of a man she was intent on acquiring.
We listened in horror as the news unfolded about the explosion of the space shuttle Columbia, with seven brave young men and women on board. A nation mourned, but the loss was so much more acute to those they left behind.
The year 2003 marked the deaths of Bob Hope, Katherine Hepburn, John Ritter, Mr. Fred Rogers and Johnny Cash, all notable people who made life happier for thousands as they entertained all over the world with their movies and their personal appearances.
Here at home we too lost some very dear friends, good men who made their place in the world a better place for those to follow. These men loved their families, their church and their town. They will be sadly missed.
We saw the economy go up and down. Locally we experienced some businesses closing, the loss of jobs and a reported drop in sales.
As we look forward to a new year we have much for which we are thankful. History has a way of repeating itself and we will see goodness in deeds, experience a renewal of hope and see accomplishment in areas that will enhance the lifestyle of all Americans.
We will look forward to peace, a better economy, the return of servicemen and women to their families, and an awareness of how each of us can contribute to our communities.
We will see the needs of others and give our support and will make the new year better than last. May we each strive for improvement and a desire to achieve all our goals.
We each can love others more, forgive quickly and speak kindly.
We can make 2004 a good year.
Mary Sauceman, a resident of LaFayette, writes a weekly column for the Walker County Messenger