September is a time for new beginnings. Summer trips come to an end, neighborhood pools shut down, and families settle in to the routines the new school year brings. And despite what North Texas thermometers say, the sweet relief of fall is just around the corner … eventually.
For me, this month feels like the true beginning of my time here at People Newspapers. The past six weeks have been a whirlwind of meeting people in the community, trying to remember coworkers’ names, and figuring out simple things like where to park my car or find a good cup of coffee. It’s been hectic but exhilarating, and I’m so excited to be a part of this team.
I’ve been inspired this month by one of my closest friends, who recently got engaged at the top of Stone Mountain.
For those not familiar with it, Stone Mountain is a large dome rock on the outskirts of Atlanta. It is the centerpiece of a beautiful recreational area.
The rock itself is most famous for being a memorial to the Confederacy. Images of Civil War figures Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis are etched into its side, serving as something of a southern Mount Rushmore. (Mount Rushmore creator Gutzon Borglum actually designed the images.)
My friend is a Muslim who was not born in this country. But he grew up here and is as American as the rest of us.
The fact that my friend, a Muslim man of Indian descent, can celebrate his engagement here is what makes America great again and again. He did not choose the location to make any political statement. He simply wanted a scenic place that was close to family.
The next time I pass Stone Mountain, I may still ponder what the memorial says about our nation, or consider the ongoing arguments over whether it should be removed. Mostly I will just smile and think of my friend.
We can’t change history. It’s what we make of the present that defines who we are. In such polarizing times, it’s important sometimes to step back and remember that, despite all of the challenges facing us, we as a nation have come a long way.
Here’s to new beginnings.