- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 28, 2013

President Obama didn’t use the word “immigration” in his Thanksgiving Day address, but he made it clear he’s thankful for immigrants, among the nation’s many blessings that he enumerated.

“We give thanks for the men and women who set sail for this land nearly four centuries ago, risking everything for the chance at a better life — and the people who were already here, our Native American brothers and sisters, for their generosity during that first Thanksgiving,” Mr. Obama said.

Following the Pilgrims, Mr. Obama said he is giving thanks Thursday “for the generations who followed — people of all races and religions, who arrived here from every country on Earth and worked to build something better for themselves and for us.”

The president has been urging House Republicans all year to approve immigration reform legislation that was already passed by the Democrat-controlled Senate. In his holiday message, Mr. Obama didn’t make any references to political battles.

Mr. Obama said he and his family will spend the holiday at the White House “just like many of you — sitting down with family and friends to eat some good food, tell stories, watch a little football, and most importantly, count our blessings.”

Among those blessings, he said, are America’s men and women in uniform.

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“We give thanks for the freedoms they defend — the freedom to think what we want and say what we think, to worship according to our own beliefs, to choose our leaders and, yes, criticize them without punishment,” the president said. “People around the world are fighting and even dying for their chance at these freedoms. We stand with them in that struggle, and we give thanks for being free.”

The president also called on Americans to remember people who need a helping hand.

“We give thanks to everyone who’s doing their part to make the United States a better, more compassionate nation — who spend their Thanksgiving volunteering at a soup kitchen, or joining a service project, or bringing food and cheer to a lonely neighbor,” he said. “That big-hearted generosity is a central part of our American character. We believe in pitching in to solve problems even if they aren’t our problems. And that’s not a one-day-a-year belief. It’s part of the fabric of our nation.”

“No matter our differences, we’re all part of one American family,” Mr. Obama said. “We are each other’s keeper. We are one nation, under God.”

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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