Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. Sadly, this is often forgotten. 

It’s a moment to thank God (or, just pause to be thankful) for one’s blessings, one’s gifts. It’s a time to be thankful for our nation. America is a great nation, albeit imperfect.

What has made America great is our Liberty — the freedom to reach one’s potential; speak one’s mind; and, participate in our government. And, yes, our American Liberty comes with responsibility and a respect for the rule of law, with the ability to change the laws. We are duty-bound to protect one another’s Liberty because that’s the key to our own success, our nation’s success—and, our children’s success. We grow stronger and we pass along our traditions and our very nation when we foster Liberty, guided by responsibility.

In our planet’s history, the United States of America stands apart from most nations. We are not connected to one another by language, common enemy or land mass. Many of us do not trace our heritage on this land back centuries or millennia. No, we are not like the French — bonded together by language, culture and more or less a similar land mass. We are not like the Chinese, with culture and traditions that span thousands of years.

We are a nation built largely on an idea, Liberty — of thought; to worship, or not; to start anew, to work, to create; to try, fail and try again. That attracted people here from everywhere.

And, yes, we must remember that some Americans are here because their ancestors were forced to come here, forcibly separated from their families. Their history is our history. Yes, America is a great, but imperfect nation, striving to be better. Our nation was founded on the idea that each of us is endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights — Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Therefore, we were morally duty-bound to correct that sin, that grievous error.

But, at our core, it is those values of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness that are what makes us unique, and which should bind us together.

At a time when our nation is so deeply divided — and when technology allows us constantly to be reminded of our many, many divisions — let us give thanks. 

Let us also pause to remember that we will rarely all agree on politics, culture or religion. But, we must remain committed to our values and our principles. Then, we can then work through our differences and hand off this nation to the next generation. It is our duty. 

Liberty is a gift, a gift that was earned, nurtured and protected. Let us give thanks for this great but imperfect nation. Let us be united in our purpose that we will pass-along to our children, a nation rooted-in Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Guy Ciarrocchi is based in Paoli, where he writes, counsels, and coaches softball, too.

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