Thanksgiving, which is celebrated the 2nd to last Thursday of November (it used to be last one until FDR changed it in 1939 to help businesses during the Great Depression), is one of the few American Holidays that EVERYONE seems to enjoy. Yes, the 4th of July is up there, but few people make a point of having a family get together then. Maybe because it’s at the end of the year, but Thanksgiving is the one true holiday where Americans of all faiths can thank God for all they’ve received (and not received) through the year. This month, I’m making a list of things we should all reflect on and be thankful for.
1) My wife is a descendant of William Bradford, the first governor and historian of our country, who arrived on the Mayflower in 1620. We should be thankful that our original colonists came here to create a nation that reflected God’s character of love and justice. How many countries can make that claim?
2) Yes, we have blemishes in our history such as slavery. But, we also fought a war to end this terrible thing. Our country has always been one to right the wrongs of society. Unlike other countries, we don’t give up in cynicism.
3) We’ve liberated more countries than you can count. What would France, Korea, England and Poland be, just to name a few, without our help?
4) What other country can someone who grows up poor, or comes from another country with nothing but the clothes on his or her back, work hard and actually change their status, going from lower to middle to upper in one or two generations? I just finished reading a bio of Satchel Paige, and it’s a story, like so many others, that “could only happen in America.”
5) Got a health problem? Remember, it could be worse. Besides, we’re living longer than almost any other time.
6) We have access to literature and music from a plethora of generations.
7) We can have a say in our politics. We can vote the bums out, or vote the bums in! We can say we can’t stand a politician and go to bed knowing we’ll wake up in the same bedroom the next day!
8) Where else can changing your religious beliefs not result in a death sentence? Try converting to Christianity in Egypt or Pakistan and watch what happens! This is due to the Founding Fathers realizing that “where the spirit of the lord is, there is liberty.”
9) Got a health problem? We’ll take care of it. In other countries, such as in Africa, you can die from a disease that could be cured with a simple trip to the pharmacy here. In countries like Italy and Greece, the waiting period for treatment itself could kill you.
10) In my family we’ve got whites, blacks, hispanics, Jews, Christians and agnostics. We all get along-what other country could boast that? The people that run Jazz Messenger magazine and this web site are white, black and Asian. Is this a great place or WHAT?
11) Our country invented jazz! YAY! Thank God for Duke Ellington!