Thanksgiving Day seems to lack an identity and value within our culture. The day is so often eclipsed by the “bigger holiday” and is viewed as the first day of the Christmas season. I am sure that I am not the only one who has heard Christmas music in the stores in the beginning of November and thought “Ugh–That shouldn’t start until Thanksgiving!” Many of us start our Thanksgiving morning watching the parade on TV, listening to Christmas music and start the serious planning of our Christmas shopping. Poor Thanksgiving Day cannot compete with a jolly fat man in a red suit. There is nothing sexy or cute about pilgrims and the turkey just puts us all to sleep. And even when we want to fight the “Christmas Cycle,” the commercials and stores have us thinking about what to give and what we want to receive.
Every Thanksgiving I am reminded of my Mother. It was her favorite day of the year and because of her, it is also my favorite day. It is the one day of the year designated by the United States Government to stop and give thanks. No—not just say you are giving thanks—REALLY give thanks. Thanks to family, friends, neighbors, maybe even strangers. Another great thing about Thanksgiving—even though many people thank God on this day, it is actually a secular holiday. So no matter who you see, you can wish them a “Happy Thanksgiving” and know that this will apply to them. Who among us, after all, does not want to take a day to be thankful?
Americans are doing a great job telling our veterans that they are thankful for their service. Our troops are not treated as our Vietnam Veterans were—and for that, we are definitely thankful. However, in the effort to make our veterans feel like heroes, there is a growing concern that people feel sorry for them. In a recent article in the Washington Post “Troops Feel More Pity Than Respect” the journalist outlines some growing concerns for our wounded community.
On Veterans Day, Hope For The Warriors® kicked off its Giving Thanks campaign. Corporations are encouraged to include our organization in the Holiday Party planning and individuals will be asked to consider a donation as part of their year-end giving. But in all of our communication and our actions, we will be sure that we reflect not just thankfulness but also respect for our wounded service members.
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my health, my ability to run, my children and my family and my friends. I am thankful for a job that I not only enjoy, but feel like I am making a difference. And of course, I am thankful to our service members—their service, sacrifices, strengths and resiliency.
I hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving Week!