OUR OPINION: Celebrating our best traditions

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Despite all the troubles and conflict in the world, we are reminded this week of all we have to be thankful for, and to share our gratitude on this most American of holidays.

Thanksgiving is a time of bounty, of family, of kinship. It’s a time to gather together and recognize the blessings we share and the ties that bind. It’s a time of appreciation and setting aside differences.

Oh, and the turkey! We cannot forget the turkey. And the stuffing! Plenty of us will get stuffed on Thursday, radiant in the dazed afterglow of our annual pilgrimage back to the table for seconds. Thirds, even.

Whatever your holiday tradition, Thanksgiving endures because we have a need and a desire to share and express gratitude for our blessings and for our good fortune. In a time when we can all become riven by distractions and petty differences, we do ourselves a great service when we acknowledge our blessings of peace, liberty and freedom. For all of our problems, we Americans have a cornucopia of blessings to be thankful for.

For many of us, Thanksgiving is among our favorite holidays because we savor not just the flavors, but the memories and traditions formed around this day, the kickoff to the holiday season. (Which, for reasons known only to the National Football League, must always include the Detroit Lions.)

As children, many of us bundled up and traveled to grandparents’ homes or gathered together with relatives we sometimes only saw on major holidays. From these gatherings, we learned the value of simple gifts. We learned the inexplicable blessing of gratitude itself. Those experiences stay with us, warm us, nurture us.

We are fortunate, most of us, for the lives we have, and it is right and proper to give thanks for our bounties. Too often in our daily striving and hustle-and-bustle, we may tend to focus on what we lack rather than what we have. Too often, we may fail to realize how blessed we are to simply be where we are. So many of the 7.7 billion people on this planet we share have so little.

We also are blessed to live in a community that does so much to help those who are not as fortunate. Numerous groups are busy working to ensure families don’t go hungry and will have the support they need this holiday season. We’re thankful for the good work they do, and we’re grateful for all those who help support such efforts. It’s a blessing to those who receive, just as it’s a blessing to be able to give.

To those traveling this holiday, safe travels, and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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