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Christmas in Niles

The 2012 Lighting of the Niles Train Depot
Mayor's Christmas Message

The Historic Niles Amtrak Train Depot was built in 1892 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The historic depot has been used in on-location scenes of at least three movies; "Continental Divide", starring John Belushi and Blair Brown, "Midnight Run", starring Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin, and "Only the Lonely" starring John Candy and Ally Sheedy.  It was the latter of these three which spawned the tradition of adding Christmas lights and decorations to the station annually.  Mayor McCauslin has routinely given a welcome to all visitors and a Christmas Message address at the Lighting of the Depot Ceremony.

Good evening~

Once again, it is an honor and a privilege to be invited by the Garden Club to participate in the annual lighting of Niles Depot.  It is also special for me to welcome Santa and Mrs. Claus to Niles.  I hope that you had a great trip and have met lots of good girls and boys.

For those of you new to, or visiting our community for this annual celebration, we welcome you with holiday cheer.  For those of you fortunate enough to call Niles home, we share our warm and festive greetings.

This is my favorite time of year.  The lights, the Christmas music, friends and family, holiday celebrations and the special tradition of lighting the Depot.  This is that special time of year when children get so excited and we do more for our friends and neighbors.  We become more generous with our time, and kind in our ways.  Our patience may wane as we struggle to fight crowds to find gifts for the special people in our lives, but it increases with our thoughts and hopes for the coming New Year.  For a brief moment, we become the people we wish we could be throughout the year.

Each year as I have shared my comments on the excitement of the approaching holidays, my words and indeed our celebration have been tempered with the ever present crisis of the day.  The threat of terrorism still exists, foreign countries are posturing at each other, our soldiers are still in hostile lands, many of our friends on the east coast are struggling from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, but as we have done for years before, we endure.  We move forward, and together, we continue to make Niles a wonderful community.

This has been a year fraught with challenges.  But again, we have persevered.  We have been blessed to be living in the Midwest.  We have watched as our friends on the east coast have lost everything from Hurricane Sandy.  We have seen the outpouring of assistance and prayers.  We have cried with them as they return to find nothing but devastation for their years of toil and work.  We have sent what we can to help ease their burden.  We know that even now, there are still people living in shelters, devastated by this disaster.

And so, this holiday season, as we spend time with family and friends, as we share in the joy with our children, we remind ourselves that even in the difficulties we have faced, we are blessed.  If you have food on your table, be thankful, tonight many do not.  If you have a roof over your head, or even a place to call home, be thankful, this month, many do not.  If you have been warmed by the spirit of neighborly friendship and brotherhood, be thankful, this year, many have not.

Tonight and during this season, we relish in the excitement, the lights, festive celebrations, family and friends, hope for our children and hope for the future.  But let us all remember what this season means and what is truly important.  While you have opened your hearts to our friends struggling on the coast, please remember that we have friends here in Niles that are struggling and go without.  I ask that you share your good fortune with someone less fortunate, right here in our community.  The opportunities are endless.

In past years I have asked for your help and you have responded.  And while you have not heard it enough, thank you. 

For the remainder of 2012 and the hope of 2013, live the true meaning of Christmas, share your most precious gift, your time.  And remember, we can do no great things, only small things with great love.

During this holiday season and always, please keep those that protect us, our soldiers, our police, our firefighters and our EMT's in your thoughts and prayers.

On behalf of the City of Niles, and from my family, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and Godspeed for a safe, healthy and prosperous New Year.

Mayor Michael McCauslin

Photo of Train Depot Lighting Ceremony by Jessica Sieff of the Niles Daily Star