I LOVE this time of year!!!
These men and women defend our homeland, protect our freedom to travel where we will, express our values, principles and morals as we wish, to worship as we please . . . or not worship at all, if that's our choice. They keep sea lanes open for the free passage of all whether they're friends, or sadly, deadly foes.
Also, while you're contemplating blessings, remember others . . . men and women who built this land we call America. Long years ago, intrepid settlers crossed the Appalachian Mountain chain to find better places to live, one free of interference and taxation by the occupying British. They braved wild animals and even wilder native Americans--men who had no use for the white settlers who cleared trees, built homes and, eventually, settlements, plowed ancestral hunting grounds, fenced the land and invited more of their kind to come inhabit the place. Some befriended the native inhabitants. Some caused terrible harm. But the land was settled by men and women who had more than an oral tradition to rely upon . . . people who knew where they'd come from and where their forefathers had originated.
Deep, deep in my soul, I feel the first settlers who crossed the mountains, those whose gaze first swept this magnificent land. Imagine what they saw! Standing on the summit of a high hill, they would view a sea of trees before them. As far as their vision could sweep. They eked out a living from the rich land, provided for their children's education in hopes that their offspring would build better lives than their parents had known. They defended what they had built--first individually and then in company with others who came after them. I find it no wonder that they fought so hard to protect this magnificent place that came be their home . . . and I give thanks for their incredible bravery, to venture into unknown lands, to make the sacrifice to leave behind all they'd ever known . . . and to establish a safe harbor for me and mine.
So wherever this holiday finds you, whether your plans include welcoming friends and family or traveling afar to visit those loved ones--no matter if you travel from sea to shining sea, I wish you peace, and friendship and a board filled with plenty. And a very Happy Thanksgiving, from my home to yours.