By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
Thanksgiving is one of our nation’s most popular holidays. It is a time for expressing gratitude for family and friends, as well as an opportunity to reflect on the founding of our nation, and the principles and ideals it stands for. It also reminds us of the ongoing need for citizens to give back to community and country to uphold that vision. Often, however, the true meaning of the day can get lost in the chaos and commercialization of the holiday season.
As we gather around the dinner table on Thanksgiving, let us not forget that the real tradition of this festive holiday is not the fancy turkey, the sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberries and pumpkin pie. The most important tradition is setting aside a special day to thank our Lord for the blessings we enjoy as Americans in this bountiful and free country.
We just need to watch the nightly news to realize just how lucky we are to live in America. We should give thanks every day for the freedoms and liberties afforded us.
As Ronald Reagan said, “Although we are a pluralistic society, the giving of thanks can be a true bond of unity among our people. We can unite in gratitude for our individual freedoms and individual faiths. We can be united in gratitude for our nation’s peace and prosperity when so many in this world have neither.”
That is why we must not forget the thousands of brave men and women who are risking their lives to safeguard our country and protect the freedoms we cherish. Their commitment is unwavering. But, after a long day, it’s easy to forget that the images of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan are the spouses, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of our neighbors and friends. They are fighting because they believe that the sacrifice of life is worth the protection of America’s freedoms and liberties, and that their lives would be well spent if it meant the ultimate safety of her people.
I encourage all of you to offer a moment of silence for the members of our armed forces who will not be with their families this holiday, and I ask you to talk to your children about how fortunate we are to live in the United States of America.
I wish you all a safe, happy and memorable Thanksgiving.