I recently got a notice in the mail. As I have shared it with others, the news universally has been acknowledged with a commiserating groan. I ask myself if I have presented the news in a negative light. I hope not. I’ve received this particular request twice before, and I had an interesting experience both times. It seems to me a reasonable request for my service. I think of my father, uncles, cousins, husband, and son, who have all given greater service than this as U.S. citizens.
Have you guessed I am writing about a summons for jury service? that the envelope was decorated by an American flag? that it bore the words “IT’S AN HONOR TO SERVE AS A JUROR”?
Jury duty does not seem too much to expect. I concede to my groaning friends that it may cause inconvenience, and that, although it is usually only minor (as little as a daily phone call for 5 days, a trip downtown one day, or an average of 1-3 days for a trial), there is always the possibility of a major inconvenience if you are chosen for a complicated trial. Still, I embrace this common American experience. I value it as just that- an experience we have in common, that ties us together as Americans. It is an opportunity to cooperate with fellow citizens and make an important contribution. As I accept the privileges of citizenship, I also accept the responsibilities.
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, I will make that first call. I am not affected by any condition that would interfere with or prevent jury service. I meet every requirement for a prospective juror. There is no personal hardship that calls for me to postpone it. On Thanksgiving, gratefulness for my country will be one of the blessings I count. How appropriate I have such an immediate opportunity to put that gratitude into action!