Published 12:33 pm Thursday, November 27, 2008

By Staff
Another year is coming to its end, so it is time to reflect on what Americans should be thankful for as they celebrate Thanksgiving.
No matter how Americans feel about the outcome of this year’s elections, they should be thankful they live in a nation where they are allowed to vote for candidates of their choice. They should be grateful they have the right to mark a ballot.
Americans should be grateful they live in a nation where they can voice their displeasure with a candidate, an elected official or the government without fear of being thrown in jail to waste away, be tortured or executed.
As the nation’s economy continues to worsen, Americans should be thankful that most of them do not have to worry about from where their next meals will come. Many Americans who are struggling should be grateful that their neighbors and complete strangers are willing to support charities like Eagle’s Wings that provide food to needy folks. They should be grateful that organizations like the Salvation Army are raising money to help feed poor families.
Americans should be thankful there are groups like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans that work with government officials to erect memorials to the nation’s war dead and veterans who made sacrifices that protected and preserved our freedom and rights as American citizens. Americans should be grateful for government officials who did their part to help make such memorials possible.
Americans should be thankful for firefighters, paid and volunteer alike, who risk their lives as they fight around the clock to battle wildfires, whether those wildfires be in eastern North Carolina or California. Americans should be grateful for the volunteers who came together to do what it took to help feed those firefighters.
Americans should be thankful for those people who are willing to donate blood, the gift of life.
Americans should be thankful for foster parents who are willing to take in children who are in need of love and care for various reasons, many of them not pleasant reasons.
Americans should be thankful for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots campaign that helps assure that many needy children will receive toys for Christmas. As they do in war, the Marines see a challenge, meet it head on and overcome it. With Toys for Tots, they live up to their motto Semper Fidelis — Always Faithful.
Americans should give thanks the nation has made great strides in improving race relations to the point it elected its first black president.
Americans should give thanks they may exercise their freedom of religion to worship as they please. Residents of some nations do not have that freedom. Instead, those residents face prison or execution because they practice a faith not approved of by the governments of those nations.
Americans should be thankful for living in a nation that is blessed with riches — riches that encompass much more than material wealth. This nation is blessed with a wealth that exceeds money.
As this newspaper has said before, America has shared more than material wealth with the world. We have shared the roots of freedom and the fruit that freedom bears when properly nourished.
Our wealth is not in our purses, but in our minds.
Give thanks for that.