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Giving thanks should be a daily goal

Although historians may debate the facts of that iconic first Thanksgiving feast we celebrate today, we have little doubt that the first Americans – the Pilgrims – were thankful.

They had escaped a tyrannical life, survived a treacherous sea voyage and landed in the New World, a bountiful land that held the promise of freedom to worship; freedom from taxes; and freedom to build a prosperous life.

More than 300 years later, we can still be thankful for each of those things.

Even in today’s uncertain world, we should be thankful for our blessings: for our freedom, protected by millions of men and women throughout the years; the land, which in Pike County provides a key component of our economy; for our ability to worship and pray, however we choose; for the education provided to all young people in America, while not perfect it still gives our young children the foundation they need to succeed in life; for a nation that rewards ingenuity, persistence and hard work; for family, friends and neighbors who touch our lives in small and large ways each day; and, most of all, for the opportunities each day holds — to laugh, to smile, to learn, to share, to contribute, to make a difference.

Despite unsettling times, giving thanks seems easier today. As a nation, we collectively pause and take stock of our lives and note how blessed, and thankful, we truly are.

The challenge for each of us, just as for those Pilgrims in the 1600s, is to carry that spirit of thanksgiving in the days to come.

That is the challenge, and if we can succeed, perhaps in it lies the greatest gift of all.