As we begin a twelfth holiday season since September 11, I’m thankful for a nation that has enough fortitude — a culture that cultivates enough courage — to fight our longest war with an all-volunteer force.
Through recessions and recoveries, through victories and setbacks, and even as casualty counts have risen ever higher, our nation has produced every year hundreds of thousands of men and women willing to risk everything rather than sit at home and enjoy the fruits of the most prosperous nation in world history.
Our culture has many problems, but we still value courage, and we still raise enough courageous young people to carry on the legacy of valor that has defined and shaped our nation. And for that, I am exceedingly grateful.
I second that.
***Stole this image from a great blog, Politics for Average Americans:
Here is a transcript of President Ronald Reagan’s 1985 Thanksgiving address, in which he called on the country to celebrate American liberty:
“Good morning, everyone. You know, the Statue of Liberty and this wonderful holiday called Thanksgiving go together naturally because although as Americans we have many things for which to be thankful, none is more important than our liberty.
Liberty: that quality of government, that brightness of mind and spirit for which the Pilgrim Fathers braved the seas and Americans for two centuries have laid down their lives.
Today, while religion is suppressed in perhaps one third of the world, we Americans are free to worship the Almighty as we choose.
While entire nations must endure the yoke of tyranny, we are free to speak our minds, to enjoy an unfettered and vigorous press, and to make government abide by the limits we deem just.
While millions live behind walls, we remain free to travel throughout the land to share this precious day with those we love most deeply – the members of our families.
My fellow Americans, let us keep this Thanksgiving Day sacred. Let us thank God for the bounty and goodness of our nation. And as a measure of our gratitude, let us rededicate ourselves to the preservation of this: the land of the free and the home of the brave.
From the Reagan family to your family: Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all.”
Oh, to have a man of integrity and honor in the White House again.
***One of my favorite paintings, "Freedom from Want" by Norman Rockwell
***Theodore Baker, 1894
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.
Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!
We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
***Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!