For many, this holiday season means time off from work and the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones. Many Missourians will sit down together in fellowship to enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal.
However, let us not overlook the two things we hold most sacred — our family and our nation. Although the traditions of Thanksgiving predate our great state and country, it is a holiday unique to us and a part of our heritage as Americans.
November, designated as a month of gratitude, holds significance in various ways. We honor all veterans on Nov. 11th, observe National Adoption Awareness Month, National Family Caregivers Month, American Education Week, and Native American Heritage Month. As we enter the holiday season, it is fitting to give thanks, share, and extend care to our fellow human beings.
While all of these are a good reason to be thankful, I hope that you will take a few moments to give sincere thought to the many reasons we have to give thanks. Beyond the joy of a home-cooked meal and perhaps some football, this season offers an opportunity to contemplate the experiences and blessings of the past year, expressing appreciation for the multitude of gifts we have received both individually and as citizens of this remarkable nation.
For myself, I truly feel blessed and thankful for the opportunity to serve as your state representative. It brings me so much pride and joy to represent the place we call home, and those that make it such a great place to live. Over this past year alone, to see how many positive changes have taken place is truly fulfilling for me. I am so appreciative that you continue to entrust me with representing our home, and all of its potential in our great state.
I hope that whatever course life has taken you on throughout the year, you find that those lessons have brought you through to the other side, for the better. I pray that you and your family, friends, and other loved ones are able to share this Thanksgiving together to celebrate one another, and truly allow time to just be in the memory-making moments. Life is short, and regardless of what we may agree or disagree on, what is important to remember is the time we do share with one another – and making that count!
President John F. Kennedy once remarked, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” Yet, I believe we should take this sentiment a step further. Let us strive to be the difference in someone’s life, recognizing that while we count our blessings, there are many who are less fortunate. It is crucial that we extend a helping hand to those in need whenever possible.
This holiday season prompts us to contribute to our favorite charities, volunteer at local soup kitchens or food banks, and take actions that alleviate the struggles of others. It is a time for those of us with much to express gratitude to come together and support those who may not be as fortunate. Thanksgiving serves as a reminder that we have the power to make our world a better place through acts of kindness. As we venture into this holiday season, with uncertainty in the world, let us retreat to our strength — our faith and love for all humans.
While a lack of rain this year may have stunted our crops, we still give thanks for the hard work our farmers have devoted to ensuring the bounty we all can enjoy together. We must thank them, for as we know, the feast and holiday would not exist without them.
We must thank our military men and women and first responders, for those who now serve and those who have served are the ones who preserve the very peace and freedom we enjoy. Let us also take time to visit and honor those who will not be joining their families at a table this year. The elderly, the sick, shut-ins, and even our military and first responders might be spending this holiday alone and away from families. Let us reach out to them, visit them, and make sure they know that they are loved and not forgotten.
This nation is at its greatest when we care for and look out for one another, and there is no better time than now to reaffirm our commitment to being good neighbors and good citizens. While we have much to be thankful for, collaboration is essential to ensure that future generations enjoy even greater blessings. The strength and resilience of our communities, the trust and friendships we have with those in our towns and the belief that we Missourians can make life better for all.
My hope for you is that you have a wonderful holiday; one that is full of love, laughter, and of course — amazing food! Thank you for another wonderful year as your representative. And remember, there is always something to be thankful for, now and always.