We Americans have so very much for which to be grateful this Thanksgiving Day.
It is true that many of our neighbors are undergoing great trials and tribulations. Locally, unemployment rates are among the highest in the nation. Many of our families and businesses are suffering the effects of a recession. Tens of thousands of our very best men and women remain locked in conflict overseas. We worry about illness, in particular, H1N1 flu.
Yet with all that, giving thanks for our many blessings is appropriate today, and every day.
Most assuredly, we give thanks for the safe return of our Michigan National Guardsmen. We thank them for their service to our country and the protection of the freedom we all enjoy.
We continue to live in a nation that is the envy of most other people on our planet. The combination of prosperity, liberty and security that we enjoy is unmatched.
We live in a land that is both beautiful and bountiful, but our nation is great because of its people, too. Our ancestors carved out a society based freedom before turning it over to us. They made enormous sacrifices to safeguard the nation they handed down to us.
In some ways, we have treated our legacy wisely. In other ways we have erred - but our nation has remains strong.
Our blessings stem in large measure from our family and neighbors. We live among hard-working, compassionate people who seem always eager to lend a helping hand when one is needed.
It is true that we, both locally and as a nation, face severe trials. But the persistence, ingenuity, faith and work ethic of our neighbors fills us with confidence that our best days lie ahead.
Thanksgiving was established as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln, during the dark days of the Civil War - a time worse in many ways than any era of our history. Lincoln understood that even then, Americans had much for which to be thankful - and an obligation to express our gratitude for the "ever watchful providence of Almighty God."
Thursday, once again, we gather with family and friends to do what Lincoln recommended.