- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2016

There are two particularly quintessential American holidays: Independence Day, when we celebrate our declaration of independence from the British, which began the most successful experiment in human liberty ever conducted. And Thanksgiving, when we offer appreciation for the wondrous blessings in our individual lives and in the life of the nation.

Thanksgiving, of course, came before Independence Day, but in my mind, they’ve always been inseparable.

Thanksgiving carries with it a special communal joy that is rooted in that most simple but powerful human sentiment: gratitude.

And this year, we have more than ever for which to be grateful. In less than two months, we will be free of the destructive leftism of President Obama’s agenda and will have a new president who promises to restore the idea of Big America: high-growth economically, powerful militarily, strong politically, dynamic culturally and adventurous in everything. Out with corrosive corruption and national weakness; in with powerhouse American strength and energy.

It’s a time to rejoice for the second chance we’ve been given as a nation.

It’s also a time to reflect on these lost Obama years, and to come together as a national family for the exciting, challenging years ahead.

Thanksgiving is the perfect day for such introspection.

I love that on this one particular day, almost everyone in the country is doing the exact same thing at roughly the same time: cooking, preparing, sitting down to a communal table, praying together, eating together, watching football or movies together. I realize that not everyone is lucky enough to have these blessings. There is a lot of loneliness, despair, pain and violence in the country and the world, and I hope you’ll keep those suffering in the prayers you say today.

I love that it’s uniquely American. Given the exceptional origin of this exceptional nation, Thanksgiving is the one holiday that binds us all together as Americans. It reflects our birthright, our legacy, our home. Thanksgiving is us. And only us.

Most of all, I love that it’s rooted in appreciation. As Americans, today we give thanks for our families and friends, our faith, our Constitution and the many freedoms it guarantees, our great and good country, and the extraordinary United States military, our bulwark against tyranny, oppression and terror.

We are going through unprecedented times, but we are truly blessed in this great land. There is still no other nation like it on earth. Never has been, never will be. God blessed America from the beginning. And He blesses us still. Now we just have to work a bit harder to save her. But today, we celebrate and give thanks that we still have her.

In the spirit of the holiday and the new era which we are about to begin, some words of wisdom:

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.” (Abraham Lincoln).

“Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.” (Theodore Roosevelt).

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” (John F. Kennedy).

“Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day.” (Ronald Reagan).

“Our rural ancestors, with little blest,

Patient of labour when the end was rest,

Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,

With feasts, and off’rings, and a thankful strain.” (Alexander Pope).

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.” (H.U. Westermayer).

Indeed they did. We do the same thing today, albeit with far greater material comforts than our forebears. We have much for which to be grateful today, including an impending restoration of a strong, vibrant, truly exceptional America.

Eat, drink, be merry, and overflow with thanks for all that we have and all that we are — and all that is yet to be.

Monica Crowley is editor of online opinion at The Washington Times.

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