The true meaning of this holiday lies in giving thanks for all that we have. This year look around and count your blessings — the special people who share their holiday with you (and those who would like to but cannot), the delicious food you enjoy and the roof over your head.
For many Americans, myself included, Thanksgiving is one of the most special holidays of the year. We love retelling the old stories about how the Pilgrims sat down with the Indians and gave thanks for the help they received to make it through the long, cold northeastern winter. We like thinking about why the Pilgrims went to Plymouth in the first place — that they left in search of religious freedom — or economic opportunity. They were dedicated individualists willing to undergo hard times, freezing winters and arduous tasks to live in a land where one could worship in the manner one chose, not in the manner dictated by the state, and where economic success depended more on hard work and less on social setting.
Thanksgiving was, and is, and will forever be, our tradition as Americans. We don’t have the centuries old traditions of many of our friends around the world. Our nation is too young. But this is our tradition and we are proud of it. So many of the ideals of who we are as Americans are embodied in this holiday. We celebrate individualism, and hard work, and open opportunity and freedom of worship. And we like reflecting on all those things that we are thankful for.
Thanksgiving allows us to pause and consider the fragility of the wonderful gift of life, not only our own but also of those we love. We all have so many things to be thankful for, things such as the personal freedoms that we in America often take for granted. How fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful land.
And we are blessed to have our loved ones. We are often so busy with our daily lives that we forget to reflect on how important they are to us. Thanksgiving helps us remember.
This Thanksgiving, I challenge each one to change your focus from the things we don’t have and be thankful for what we do have. I also ask that you remember our troops and be thankful for their willingness to place themselves in harm’s way. They are dedicated to protecting our freedom that we might enjoy this special day with family and friends.
On Thanksgiving Day and every day, let’s be reminded of how great it is to live in such a wonderful community as Cleveland, Charleston and Bradley County. So as you carve the turkey on Thursday, don’t forget to serve up a big helping of gratitude. It’s very good for you … and has no calories.
I am grateful for so many things including a loving family, good friends and good health. I’m also grateful for the faith you’ve placed in me as your county mayor. I am humbled by your trust, and I remain dedicated to providing exceptional service and to doing whatever I can to make Bradley County a better place for everyone.
Thank you for adding to my list of blessings.
My family and I wish everyone a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.