Thanksgiving Is More Than Just a Holiday

When I think of all that our country has been through historically, I am humbled by how far God has brought us since that autumn day in 1621, which is credited as the first Thanksgiving.

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We all know that there is still much progress to be made. But during this season, there is also much for which to be thankful.

Even as another election cycle is underway and the powers that be debate the critical issues of our nation, let us give thanks. And even as there is much to occupy our minds like family, work, bills, the holidays and who will win the next football game, let us take a moment to reflect beyond Thanksgiving on Nov. 26. So, I’d like to list just a few of the people for whom I am especially thankful all year round, some of whom we may take for granted.

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  • Every time I think of the history of black people — from slavery to emancipation and from Jim Crow to civil rights — I am so grateful for all of those who fought and the many who died for the cause of freedom.
  • Despite the fact that there is clearly the need to remain vigilant to protect the right to vote, every time I go to the polls I am especially grateful to remember those activists who fought and continue to stand so that I can cast a ballot for the candidates of my choice.
  • I am also thankful for all of those military men and women at home and abroad who are dedicated to keeping us safe and free.
  • And I am thankful that — with help, hard work and perseverance — my three wonderful children and other youth across the nation are able to do anything or go anywhere that their gifts, talents and character will take them.
  • I am thankful for the solid upbringing that I received from hardworking parents who taught me the values of education, respect and service.
  • I’m thankful for friends, family and coworkers who, no matter what’s going on, are always there for me.
  • Finally, I am thankful for those who were role models in that small church on the corner that served as the center of my family’s life as I grew up in North Philadelphia. The role that faith has played in my life and in the history of African American people has been key to our amazing progress.

 

So during this season, let’s recognize the fact that Thanksgiving is not just a holiday. It really should be a way of life all year round.

Photo: Pamela Moore/iStock

AARP helps people turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities, and fights for and equips Americans 50 and older to live their best lives. Discover all the ways AARP can help you, your family and your community at AARP Black Community, and connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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