This article appeared in the December 16, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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Getting beyond ‘those millennials!’ and ‘OK Boomer’

Sait Serkan Gurbuz/AP
Maren Washburn, 7, lays a holiday wreath at a headstone in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia during Wreaths Across America Day, Dec. 14, 2019. Maine businessman Morrill Worcester started the annual event in 1992 at Arlington National Cemetery, and it has expanded to hundreds of veterans' cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and overseas.

Our five stories today look at a presidential campaign that could be more about the past than the future, a newly minted Hong Kong politician, one city’s bid to engage people positively around climate-friendly behavior and another city’s bid to appoint a “night mayor,” and what’s spurring the ire over the movie “Richard Jewell.”

There’s been a lot of intergenerational sparring in the public square of late, especially between millennials and boomers. Maybe that’s why a week in which a lot of intergenerational harmony was on display was heartening.

Take 93-year-old Ed Higinbotham of Georges Township, Pennsylvania. He teamed up with state troopers about half his age to deliver his 300 handmade toys to children about 1/20th his age. He likes making others happy, he says.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, Jim Annis, who recalls sparse childhood Christmases, has similarly created wooden toys for 50 years to hand out alongside the Salvation Army. “My pay is when I see the smile on kids’ faces,” he said.

At Arlington National Cemetery, the entrance was packed Saturday with a wide array of volunteers eager to help lay 253,000 wreaths on veterans’ graves. “It was really moving,” said one young participant.

And in Newtown, Connecticut, exactly seven years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, all generations showed up as the football team took to the field after a wrenching day of memorial services. The stands were packed; fans on both sides wore green to honor victims. Then Newtown won its first state championship in 27 years with a last-minute touchdown, and emotions surged – for the coach, the parents, the students, everyone else who knew what it meant to have experienced that terrible day in 2012.

“The whole town showed out on this special night,” said one player. “We knew we had to bring it home for our town.”

This article appeared in the December 16, 2019 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 12/16 edition
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