Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving: What It Means To Me

Each year on Thanksgiving, we gather with family and friends to thank God for the many blessings He has given us, and we ask God to continue to guide and watch over our country.

Almost 400 years ago, after barely surviving their first winter at Plymouth (sustaining a casualty rate of almost 40%), the Pilgrims celebrated a harvest feast to give thanks.

In 1789, George Washington proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving and during the Civil War Abraham Lincoln revived the tradition. Since that time, our citizens have paused to express thanks for the bounty of blessings we enjoy and to spend time with family and friends.

In want or in plenty, in times of challenge or times of calm, we always have reasons to be thankful. Despite the challenges, despite the doubters, despite the nearly ceaseless stream of bleak tidings, let us not forget that America is a land of abundance, prosperity, and hope.

We must never take for granted the things that make our country great: A firm foundation of freedom, justice, and equality; a belief in democracy and the rule of law; and our fundamental rights to gather, speak, and worship freely.

Let us take a moment to thank those who have paid the ultimate price to secure and retain these liberties, for they do not come without cost. Throughout our nation's history, many have sacrificed to preserve our freedoms and to defend peace around the world.

Today, the brave men and women of our military, law enforcement and private services continue this noble tradition. These heroes and their loved ones have our gratitude. I am honored to have served as a veteran and to continue to work with law enforcement officers throughout the country.

Tomorrow, we should remember also those less fortunate among us. They are our neighbors and our fellow citizens, and we should commit ourselves to reaching out to them and to all of those in need in our communities.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for all of our blessings and for the freedoms we enjoy every day. Our Founders thanked God (as they believed Him to be) and humbly sought His wisdom and blessing. May we always live by that same trust, and I pray that God will continue to watch over and bless the United States of America.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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