Then and now you hear a word that activates your thinking process. Often it is a word that pertains to something we take for granted whether we have it or don’t have it.

We were in a local retail outlet the other day and there was engagement in a short conversation with the lady manager. She is young but very observant. She works in Washington but lives in St. Louis County with her husband and children.

She said she “loves” Washington and would like to live here. Her husband feels the same way. His job is in St. Louis. The children are in school there.

“The people here have so much pride in their community,” she stated.

Pride. That’s the word that sparked the thinking engine. Do we take pride for granted? It’s here. We don’t talk about it too much. But pride is one of the drivers that ignites the spirit of working to make the community better. It wasn’t just born here a few years ago.

We remember the days when Washington would be mentioned in one way or another in a positive tone in the St. Louis newspapers, or on the radio, and on television and residents would talk about how proud they were of the city and that recognition was given. Pride goes way back!

While pride usually isn’t associated widely with volunteerism, the two are connected. The link is a strong bond. People volunteer to help the community because of the pride they have in it. They want to make it even better.

There always has been a good work ethic here. It may not be quite as good as it once was but it’s still strong. People take pride in the work they do and in the products they make. Pride in the workplace translates into a solid work ethic.

There is pride in many other elements of the community, such as in our churches, schools, hospital, parks, riverfront, athletic teams, downtown section — we could go on and on. Not to be overlooked is the pride people have in their homes and landscaping. The pride in home ownership is evident.

Visitors often mention the city’s pleasing appearance and the obvious pride people have in this community.

Without pride in the community, an essential element in what makes a town great is missing.

In the military there is a great deal of pride in many units. That pride was instilled many years ago and still is alive and well today.

Pride in this country is present in the vast majority of Americans even though there are many disagreements that can shield it. Proud to be an American — it’s embodied in most of us!