These are challenging times in which we live.
The job market is unsettled. The Affordable Care Act was supposed to open up health insurance to those who had no health insurance and has ended up costing many Americans their existing health care plans. Many people have to work too hard to simply stay where they are in life, much less actually get ahead. We are gridlocked politically, unable to come to a national concensus on any major issue.
And yet, we can say with certainty we have much for which to be thankful as we celebrate Thanksgiving.
We have found reasons to be thankful in much worse times than these. On Oct. 3, 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring the last Thursday of November to be a national day of Thanksgiving. During the bloodiest time in American history, Lincoln was still able to find reason for Americans to be thankful. They simply had to look around at "the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies" to find reason to be thankful. Lincoln goes further, however, in explaining why Americans should be thankful.
"Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom."
It's easy to let Thanksgiving be a day for football, food and shopping. We would do well to remember that even in much worse times, we have found reason to be thankful. Let us continue that age-old tradition today and acknowledge the blessings that have been bestowed upon our nation and our families.