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United and Thankful

November 23, 2009

Thursday America gathers for our annual tradition of turkey, pie, and football.

We reunite with family; we overeat; we  fall asleep midday.

And maybe somewhere between the stuffing and the cranberry sauce, we are thankful.

Yet thankfulness may be hard this year.  The country’s wars drag on — painfully so.  The economy, though supposedly at bottom, continues to shed jobs.  Our health care system is a mess and depending on whom you ask, is about to get messier.

Maybe, though, somewhere between the war and the healthcare battles, we can be thankful.

It was in the middle of the Civil War that Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a National Thanksgiving Day.  In the depths of American despair, with a country divided and destroying itself, Lincoln saw the need for giving thanks.  When nearly all was lost, he called on the nation to remember what it had.  Sometimes that is when thankfulness is most needed: when one seems to have the least for which to be thankful.

We should heed Lincoln.

We shall never return to days as dark as those.  And at the end of the day, we have much for which to be grateful.  We may be a politically divided nation, but we are still marvelously united — in our pain and in our success, in our spirit, in our culture, our history, our being.

As bitter as we may be about partisan political battles, we are bigger than that.  We stand for more than that.  And we are united.

That indeed is something for which we can be thankful.

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