Thankful for freedom

by Tom Cole

Over the past two years, the world has certainly grown increasingly unstable and dangerous, first with Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and unjust invasion of Ukraine, and now with war in Israel and Iran-backed terrorist group attacks spurring up across the Middle East. As war and terror land on the doorsteps of others around the world, this serves as a sobering reminder as we gather with our family, friends and loved ones this week of the blessing it is to celebrate this season of thankfulness. 

Indeed, as we watch Ukraine and Israel defend themselves against oppressive regimes at the cost of civilian safety, we remain grateful for the men and women in uniform who have bravely defended our safety both at home and abroad. Freedom is not free, and whether serving our country overseas, defending our southern border or serving on the front lines in their own communities as law enforcement, we owe a debt of gratitude for their selfless sacrifice, including those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and will be missing from their family’s tables this year. 

This Thanksgiving, we are also reminded that the liberties and freedoms we enjoy here in the U.S. are not just uncommon internationally but require constant and consistent maintenance so they may remain. Our great Republic requires not just regular engagement in our civic duties, such as voting for our leaders who represent us, but recognizing and being thankful for the safety this freedom gives us. 

We must also never forget that while there is much that divides us, there is much more that unites our citizens. With the right to voice our views and engage directly in our politics, the economic freedoms to choose our own paths and develop skills of our choice and aptitude and a strong military that defends us at home and abroad, there is much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

As we spend time with our family and loved ones, we are reminded of the blessing it is to live in a safe and free nation.  And as we gather around our tables to share a meal of collective gratitude, we are certainly reminded of those who cannot. From my home to yours, it is a privilege to wish you all a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.