A Time to Give Thanks

By U.S. Senator Deb Fischer
As we go about our daily routines, it is often easy to become preoccupied with our busy schedules and overlook how truly blessed we all are. It can also be easy to skim the front page of the paper or tune in to the news during the morning commute and begin to wonder if there is any good news to be thankful for.
Our world faces many challenges that create uncertainty and frustration in our lives. Abroad, terror groups like the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) continue their violent campaign to spread fear and intolerance. The Ebola epidemic remains a global crisis, as it has leapt borders and even claimed the lives of Good Samaritans, who seek to treat afflicted patients. At home, many families continue to struggle to make ends meet as the remnants of the deepest recession since the Great Depression continue to take their toll on the middle class.
Despite these persistent challenges, we Americans really do have a lot to be thankful for. Thanksgiving Day is a time to gather together with family and friends, enjoy each other’s company, and consider our many blessings.
In the face of threats like ISIL, we can be thankful that we live in a nation that not only tolerates, but strives to welcome diverse religious beliefs, political views, and cultural differences. People from all walks of life are free to celebrate their heritage and practice their beliefs free from the threat of violence or oppression. Indeed, the very first Thanksgiving was celebrated by men and women who left home to form a colony where they could freely practice their faith. Unfortunately, this right is not shared by all nations.
We can be eternally grateful for our Armed Forces, and the generations before them, who volunteered to defend our freedom and independence. Many of our men and women in uniform will not be joining their families and loved ones this holiday season as they continue their work to ensure our security. I am so grateful for their service, and thankful for a strong national defense that is the envy of the world. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I am committed to ensuring that our troops have the tools and training they need to fulfil their mission and return home safely. It is because of their dedication and sacrifice that we are able to gather together to celebrate Thanksgiving in peace.
As Nebraskans, we are blessed. Our state’s economy has withstood the national economic downturn relatively well, in part, because of the fiscally conservative values shared by many Nebraskans. I am always inspired by the entrepreneurial spirit of our neighbors, even in the face of economic adversity. During these tough times, our state has been buoyed by our strong ag sector. Nebraska’s ag producers can be proud of their hard work to provide nourishment and fuel to the world. Nebraska is now the leading cattle feeding state in the nation, and is poised for yet another bountiful harvest this year—something we can all be thankful for.
I am grateful for the love and support of my family. Our families carry us through some of the most difficult times in our lives. While some relationships can become strained or fade over time, our families are our most basic support system. This holiday season, I encourage you to reach out to those who may have grown apart and rekindle the spirit of family.
Finally, I am especially appreciative of the tremendous honor and privilege of serving Nebraskans in the U.S. Senate. I take this responsibility very seriously, and am grateful for the trust of my fellow Nebraskans.
As we prepare for another Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on what you have been blessed with. Bruce and I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for participating in the democratic process.

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