Councilman thanks town residents

After serving on the Front Royal Town Council for the past 8 1/2 years, I want to take a moment to say thank you to all the citizens for letting me serve this wonderful town.

I can leave tonight knowing that I have accomplished some important things in the past 8 1/2 years.

I also know that I have not accomplished them alone. That’s how it works in a community — we work together. If at first we don’t agree, we work even harder.

Whether it was keeping taxes down, seeing to the construction of bike lanes and walking trails, or keeping electric costs, at the lowest rate, in the entire state of Virginia, we’ve done a lot of good here.

Each one of us up here has something to be happy about, but what makes me the most happy is that you the citizens of Front Royal let me serve you.

Thank you for that.

Now, it’s time for me to let someone else serve.

I want to take a minute to encourage the youth of our community to get involved in politics. I often hear the comment: “Who would want to get involved in politics? There’s so much criticism, often unfairly, and it’s so hard.”

Yes, sometimes it’s hard. And yes, there is criticism.

You are going to be questioned and criticized.

Everything you do is judged from a political perspective.

The schools you choose for your children … The places you shop at … Sometimes even the places where you drive … It’s all questioned.

There is a saying that “all politics is local.” But sometimes when you serve, you come to understand something else: “all local, is politics.”

It’s hard for children to hear some people criticize their father. But as I once explained to my children: “Don’t fear criticism. Fear the society in which you cannot criticize. Because once you have that society, you no longer have democracy. Many nations of this world aren’t suffering because of too much democracy. They are suffering because of too little democracy.”

Standing up for what you believe is hard. If democracy were easy everybody would be doing it.

I also tell my children something else; there is no healthy criticism without a healthy respect for each other.

For 8 1/2 years, I have served a wonderful community — this community of families and individuals. I’ve had the very good fortune of getting to meet and work with people from every neighborhood. That’s the best part of this job.

It’s all of us together that make up this great town.

It’s communities like ours, that come together that make a place called America. Each one of us together, makes up this place called Front Royal, and every single one of us makes this a better place.

Serving the men and women and children of this community has never been my right, but it has always been my privilege, and a sacred one at that. Further, it has been my privilege to serve with some of the best town employees and volunteers you could ask for. I leave this council knowing the town is in good hands.

Serving your community is a blessing. Never forget that.

As I leave, please know that this council will always be in my hopes and prayers for the best of success.

Thank you and may God bless you.

Thomas H. Sayre is a Front Royal councilman who leaves office this month. This is a speech he made at a recent council meeting.