Sam Fuller, Patriot

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Mary Anne Zak

Mary Anne Zak

November has sometimes been colored gray. November 9, 2016 was gray. Half jubilant, half- grieving, our 2016 nation had voted and divided.

Many mourners probed their grief, recognizing pain, loss, anger and worse. But many also found love of country deeper and stronger within themselves than they had realized. They found new awareness and appreciation for patriots, especially for the 56 who pledged “…their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor…” to the nation they founded in 1776.

Many realized that patriotism powers our spirit so profoundly that we may take its cherished presence for granted. We reminded ourselves that patriotism and patriots nurture our entire history.

After Election Day 2016, November brought us to Veterans’ Day. We honored patriots who had given their lives for our country over nearly three centuries. We were not divided on Veterans’ Day.

But on the very morning following Election Day, Suffield had parted with a patriot of its own. Sam Fuller’s departure deepened the grief of many and opened grief to many others.

Sam was a true patriot. That he died on the morning following a divisive presidential campaign seemed bereft irony in spite of the blessing of his release. Sam would have stood tall championing nationhood just as he had always stood tall valuing Suffield as community. His patriotism embraced both town and country.

Sam served Suffield all of his life. His rich obituary honors the many gifts of self that he gave to the town.

The Suffield Observer was among his gifts. Its masthead’s wise and vigilant owl symbolizes Sam’s sage judgment in founding the paper.

He developed it encouraging open communication and exchange among townspeople, especially about local issues and government. Sam deserves great credit for change that the Observer has been bringing to Suffield.

Sparking Sam’s far-reaching and thoughtful citizenship was a gift for laughter. His obituary photo generously shares the blessing of Sam’s typical grin.

As Suffield’s 2016 November closes on a month of dramatic change, it does so coloring Thanksgiving grateful. And echoing Shakespeare: “I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.”

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