A multitude of gratitude this Thanksgiving

Published 8:17 am Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving. It is gratitude, with many synonyms, including honor, grace, acknowledgement, appreciation and thankfulness. It is what we observe on Thanksgiving Day.
For 230 years, Americans have celebrated the official Thanksgiving holiday, and President Lincoln declared it an official federal holiday in 1863. It’s evolved through the years, to be sure, but today we honor a day of Turkey Trot running races, family reunions, bountiful feasts, football, and the unofficial “activity” of the day, a nice nap on the couch.
The drawing power of Thanksgiving brings together many who haven’t seen each other all year long, because of distance and other matters. At the heart of the fourth Thursday of November is a time to gather, reflect, laugh, and maybe even shed a tear or two, as we celebrate what we have and who we are.
Part of Thanksgiving, though, is the impending Black Friday — which is unofficially observed as a holiday by many thrifty shoppers hoping to secure a great deal on a gift or gifts. While many decry the day as a sign of our collective want to collect things, and spend money, it’s fuel to the economic engine in our town — one that shouldn’t be dismissed. Whether you’re shopping at a big box store, or at one of the great small businesses here, spend within your means and have a little fun.
For others, Thanksgiving is tough. Perhaps they don’t feel like celebrating or have had a tough year.
Perhaps they don’t have a home, or an excellent meal to honor the holiday. Fortunately, we’re blessed with thoughtful, caring people who take time from their families and friends to cook and serve dinner to those less fortunate than the rest of us. They also take time to deliver some meals to those who can’t get out to get them.
Just as the original Thanksgiving holiday came to be with considerable help from Native Americans, many generous people and groups today work to provide food and fellowship for those in need. We salute those helping to feed and care for others and encourage all to donate food or volunteer to keep people clothed and fed all year long.
Maybe a loved one is far from home serving our country or otherwise separated from family. It’s important to check in on those folks, too. Regardless of age, many people find the holidays difficult and emotions can run high during this period each year. A kind word, a caring call, or a well-timed visit can make a holiday feel special even during the toughest of times.
We’re also thankful to those who work today, such as firefighters, police and medical staff, so we can celebrate in safety and security.
We would be amiss if we didn’t acknowledge that Thanksgiving is also about expressing gratitude to God for all that has been provided. It’s worth remembering that the Pilgrims came to America so that they could worship freely. That’s part of a freedom that has become ingrained in our republic for people of all faiths and beliefs.
At the STAR we’re blessed to be able to work reporting on the people and events of Carter County and Elizabethton. It can be a challenge to capture as many facets as possible with a notepad or a camera and then put all the information together in a concise, accurate and readable way in print and online. It’s hard work at times, but as Teddy Roosevelt once wrote “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.”
Being able to work hard and to enjoy the fruits of one’s labors is part of the essence of Thanksgiving. As you and your family celebrate this day, we also hope that you can celebrate having completed or started work worth doing.
Our hope for your Thanksgiving is a happy and joyous one, regardless of circumstances. We live in a great country that has afforded us a great opportunity, hope, liberty, and the ability to make our dreams come true.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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