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Posted 11/25/14 (Tue)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

We all know the story behind why we, in America, celebrate Thanksgiving. History tells of how the Pilgrims not only beat the odds just by making it across the ocean to the New World, which would one day become the United States of America. But they also carved out their new homes in a wilderness, and then through the generosity and kindness of their Indian neighbors, they were able to learn to raise crops and begin a new life. Those Pilgrims, in 1621, had every reason to be thankful for their very existence. And each year, after harvest, they gave “thanks” for the bounties that they had received.
But it wasn’t until 1941, that Congress finally set aside the fourth Thursday of November as the official date of a national celebration of Thanksgiving.
We have come a long way in the years since the Pilgrims observed their first Thanksgiving. But we too have many things in the United States to be thankful for.
First and foremost, we should be thankful for our family and friends that we share our lives with.
We should be thankful, that even with its faults, we are able to live in the greatest country in the world. We need to pause and think about all of the freedoms and opportunities that we all have and be thankful for them. There are millions of people in the world that will never experience a fraction of what we have.
We should be thankful for the abundance of food that we have to eat, that we have homes to live in, and that we have clothes to wear. After all, there are people in the world who are wondering if they will find any food to feed themselves and their families, who are living in cardboard boxes and who are wearing rags.
We should be thankful that we can worship in the church of our choosing and that our children have schools to attend, for there are those who cannot freely choose to attend the church of their choice or ever dream of receiving an education.
We should be thankful for the jobs that we have and that our ability to improve our lives is only limited by our own ambitions and desires.
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? The list is as long or as personal as each one of us wants to make it. We may be thankful for our good health or the good health of our loved ones. We may be thankful for the safe return of a loved one from military duty overseas. Or it may be as simple as being thankful that we are able to share the holiday with family.
Whatever the reason, this Thanksgiving, remember to give thanks for your blessings.