A traditional Thanksgiving Day editorial usually celebrates the things we should be grateful for or treasure.
This year, Thanksgiving arrives amidst political tension that is dividing families, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Instead of a day to express disagreements while breaking bread, we can choose to acknowledge the blessings of today’s nearly unprecedented state of domestic peace and prosperity. Unemployment is at near all-time lows, the stock market is soaring and wages are rising. By so many substantive measures, times are good.
We are still a country filled with caring communities that unite to help the less fortunate, especially at this time of year. We live in an amazing time filled with new technologies that improve lives, allow for instant access to information and learning tools and present a myriad of entertainment possibilities. So despite ongoing concerns, we should not let fear force out our feelings of gratitude, hope and awe for the potential of our communities and world. Americans have always led in this regard.
We have always dealt with fear and doubt and have used setbacks to make us stronger. Of the 102 people who arrived on the Mayflower in December 1620, almost half died that first year. The survivors invited local Indians who had helped them weather that first miserable, tragic year to a three-day feast. It’s that feast that evolved into our modern-day start to the Christmas season with all of its traditions and its hope for better things as we give thanks for what we already have. Those early Americans celebrated survival, endurance and strength — traits that still define our culture today.
So as we reflect and give thanks on this special holiday, for more than the turkey and the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, we must also think about what we can do to help build a stronger, safer and more connected community.
As Americans, we still have many freedoms other countries can only dream about. We have the freedom to choose our careers, our types of worship and the freedom to speak our minds. And, we have the freedom to choose how we will approach each day — with thanks and optimism or fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Ours is a way of life that has provided Americans with good fortune unparalleled virtually anywhere else, and placed the necessities of life within reach of the vast majority. There is more work to be done but America remains a beacon of possibility to the world. That is why many people all around the world want to come here.
This Thanksgiving Day is a time to celebrate and to reflect on how we choose to live each day and to resolve anew our commitment to preserving the freedoms we have so that generations to come may reap the same benefits.
REPRINTED FROM THE COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE
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