Thursday, November 24, 2011

May your Thanksgiving be full of Sunshine

In preparation for this post, I spent some time this week looking up past Thanksgiving presidential proclamations and quotes, collected statements from some politicians (at least those who were smart enough to not ask for campaign donations in their Thanksgiving messages. You know who you are. Tsk tsk!), and some other fun stuff. Enjoy:

In his 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln wrote of his gratitude for "the gracious gifts of the Most High God" that had been bestowed upon America, chiefly that the nation would be "permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom," and he issued an invitation to set aside a day of Thanksgiving so that these gifts could be "solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People."

1863 was the height of the Civil War, and yet Lincoln looked forward with a clear and determined optimism about America's future. He saw past the battlefields to a a future where America would be reunited and strong to celebrate its freedoms once again.

That kind of tenacious optimism has marked the story of our nation from its very beginning. The Pilgrims who celebrated the first Thanksgiving had risked their lives for a chance at religious freedom, braving first the seas of the Atlantic and then the challenges of the untamed American wilderness. Then, a century and a half later, a brave group of patriots publicly signed the declaration of independence, literally pledging to each other their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. That document could have easily become their death warrant, but they believed in the dream of American freedom, they knew their cause was just, and they were willing to take the chance. If that's not optimism, I don't know what is.

This is why I view optimism as the true heart of the American spirit. It is not a vague, undefined "hope" that things will work out, but rather a powerful belief that with dedication and hard work, Americans can solve any problem, reach any goal, and recover from any tragedy.

Today, just like in the time of Lincoln, our nation faces tough challenges that seem as if they may tear it apart. We are fighting multiple wars without an easy resolution in sight. Our economy is burdened by a $15 trillion national debt and depressingly high unemployment. And yet, I remain optimistic about our future, because I have faith in the American people. More people  are paying attention to how our government and economy works than ever before in modern history, taking the time to learn about our Constitution and laws, discuss ideas with their friends and family, and let their elected representatives know that they will be held accountable for their actions (or, as the case may be, inaction).

America is still a place where someone born in a log cabin can become president. The brightest minds in the world come to study at our universities. The men and women of our armed forces comprise the greatest military in the world. The ongoing debate about illegal immigration shows that people are still willing to risk their lives to come here. We will have elections next year, and about half of the people will hate the outcomes, but the transfer of power will occur without the bloodshed and strife that marks political transitions in far too many places.

Today, we honor tradition by gathering with our loved ones, recognizing the fundamental truth that what's most important is the people in our lives. I can't speak for others, but that is what motivates me to be politically active: I want to make sure that my parents' lifetimes of hard work are not wasted, that my little niece (and future nephew coming next year) have the same opportunities that I did, and the same for all the future generations of my family. For the many friends my age who are swimming upstream financially right now, I hope and pray that the economy recovers soon.

May God bless America, our military and their families, and may God bless you and your family on this day of Thanksgiving.

- Sarah

Senator Marco Rubio:

For over two hundred years, Thanksgiving Day is when Americans come together in thanks and gratitude for all of the blessings God has placed in our lives.  It is a time for family and friends, and a time to reach out to our fellow citizens.
Though many American families are struggling, the hope for better days remains and there is still so much to be thankful for in our country. America has been through hard times before and every time we have risen as a nation and met those challenges and I am confident that we will do so again.
This Thanksgiving, my wife Jillian and I are thankful for the optimism and perseverance that are the trademarks of the American story.  We are thankful for the courageous men and women of our armed forces and their families, who sacrifice so much in order for all Americans to enjoy the blessings of freedom. And we are thankful for the tremendous support and encouragement we have received during our journey over the past year.
And so in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I encourage you to volunteer your time and energy to a cause close to your heart or make a donation to your favorite charity. 
Happy Thanksgiving and may God bless you and your family, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.
Adam and Jillian Hasner

Florida Governor Rick Scott:
With Thanksgiving upon us, I would like to share what I am thankful for this holiday. First, I am thankful to the men and women of America’s Armed Forces and their families for their service. Because of the sacrifice and bravery of our service men and women, Americans can observe Thanksgiving knowing that they possess the gift of freedom.
I am also thankful for Florida’s state employees. Their hard work and determination is a testament that Florida is the best state in the nation. I would like to also thank them for their service to Florida’s citizens.
Thanksgiving is a time to be together with your friends and family, and my family is exceptionally blessed this year. Ann and I welcomed our first grandchild last week. Auguste Philippe Richard Guimard was born 7:48 pm on November 15th. He weighed 5 pounds, 15 ounces, and is 19 inches long. We are thankful for his safe arrival, and we are thankful to be able to celebrate his first Thanksgiving together as a family. We hope that you also get to spend this holiday with those who are most important to you.

Washington Post photo slideshow of Presidential Thanksgivings through the years (My favorite is the one with Reagan - the look on his face is priceless!)

Congresswoman Sandy Adams:

YouTube | Weekly Republican Address 11/24/11: Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL)

“Hello, I’m Sandy Adams.  I have the great honor of representing Florida’s 24th Congressional District, which is home to some of America’s greatest treasures, including the Kennedy Space Center and Daytona International Speedway.
“This week, my family, like yours, will take part in one of America’s oldest and most cherished traditions – a day of thanksgiving.  It’s a time to catch up with one another, enjoy great food, and wish peace and grace for all.
“In our prayers we include those less fortunate, especially the millions of our fellow citizens who are out of work.
“We also keep faith with families marking the holiday without their loved ones who are serving in uniform.  As Americans, we not only count our blessings – we share them with those in need.
“Fellowship is an important element of our national character.  It may well be the first element, too.
“To realize their dream of freedom, the Mayflower settlers had to endure an unforgiving winter with few provisions.  To survive, they had to lend a hand to one another.  With every crop they planted, and every house they raised, a ‘shining city on a hill’ was being built.  Those settlers understood what we do now, that there is no substitute for the compassion and determination of a free people.
“After a plentiful harvest, the settlers gathered for a feast to give thanks for the bounty of nature and peace with their neighbors.
“This tradition was born and formalized in tough times.  It was during the Civil War that President Lincoln declared a national day of thanksgiving so Americans could, in his words, ‘implore the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it.’
“Today this message of humility and perseverance remains within our reach, thanks to generations of brave patriots who have preserved the blessings of this land we love.
“Central to the legacy we have inherited is an economy that promotes opportunity and entrepreneurship, and it is our duty to pass it on.
“Together, we can and should find common ground to empower small businesses and remove government barriers that make it harder to create jobs.
“Together, we can and should find common ground to deliver a government that honors the voice of the people.
“The challenges we face demand nothing less.
“On behalf of all my Republican colleagues in Congress and around the country, thank you for the privilege to serve you and your families.  Here’s to a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.”
Totally creepy clip art from Microsoft. This masterpiece is titled "Little boy hugging turkey." Which begs the question: is the turkey the little boy's pet? Are they still going to eat it for dinner? I'm no vegan, but, dang, that's harsh.

On Thanksgiving, my family's traditions will reflect the loyal, active, robust, big family life that shaped me. We're so fortunate to be together to share the making of another year's memory. In these late autumn days with temperatures dipping to 20-degrees below zero, we'll brave Alaska's biting cold to run and skate and ride - just because we can, and for that I am so thankful. Life in America's Last Frontier is not an easy living, but it's a good living. Here in Alaska, where I'm never without inspiration, an optimistic pioneering spirit still permeates, and harsh conditions force us out of self-centeredness and towards community - often in order to survive.
This need for selflessness - and the blessings that come with it - sharpened for me almost four years ago when I was given the gift of broader horizons, clarified priorities, and more commitment to justice and compassion for my fellow man who faces challenges and fears. I was granted this through a gift that arrived in a tiny, six-pound, awe-inspiring bundle. We named him Trig.
I know America's potential for goodness, thus greatness, because I see it every day through my son. Nothing makes me happier or prouder than to see America's good heart when someone smiles at my Trig. I notice it happens often in airports. Often a traveler passing by does a double-take when they see him, perhaps curious about the curious look on his face; perhaps my son momentarily exercises an uncontrollable motion that takes the passerby by surprise. Perhaps, as an innocent and candid child announced when she first met Trig, they think "he's awkward." But when that traveler pauses to look again and smile, and maybe tells me what a handsome boy I have, I swell with American pride. I am so thankful for their good heart. They represent the best in our country and their kindness shows the real hope we need today.
I am thankful that, as in so many areas of life, the bitter people who say bitter things about someone facing challenges are so outnumbered. There have been stinging criticisms, even from people still screaming that Trig should never have been born, but we know those critics may be the loudest and most malicious, but they're not the majority.
To me, when individuals reflect the greater societal acceptance of someone facing challenges, they show the best of humanity - even by offering a simple pat on Trig's head or a knowing smile shot our way. Conversely, when a society works to eliminate the "weakest links" (as some would callously consider the disabled) or "the unproductive" (as some would callously consider the very young and the very old), it eliminates the very best of itself. When a society seeks to destroy them, it also destroys any ability or need for sincere compassion, empathy, improvement, and even goodwill. And those are the very best qualities of humanity! Those are the characteristics of a country that understands and embraces true hope! America can be compassionate and strong enough as a nation to be entrusted with those who some see as an "inconvenience," but who are really our greatest blessings. Through Trig, I see firsthand that there is man's standard of perfection, and then there is God's. Man's standard is flawed, temporary, and shallow. God's standard lasts an eternity. At the end of the day, His is what matters.
So, this Thanksgiving my family will bundle Trig up and grin while we watch him through ice-frosted eyelashes as he curiously takes in all that is around him in the crisp open air. I hope your Thanksgiving gives you the opportunity to find that reminder of what really matters, too. For me, my perfect picture of thankfulness is my perfectly awesome son. With him, all is well with my soul and I know I am blessed.

Newt Gingrich:
Atlanta, GA – Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich released the following statement marking the Thanksgiving holiday:
“America is having a safe Thanksgiving because of the sacrifices of our young men and women in uniform. Callista and I hope everyone in uniform and their families have a happy Thanksgiving and can be reunited as rapidly as possible.”

Admit it. You laughed.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and plz remember to lift up those in service to our country in a special prayer of thanks Nov 23 19:43:51 via web

Herman Cain:
Dear Friends,
Expressions of gratitude towards God have been a tradition of Thanksgiving celebrations since the original gathering in Plymouth. As Americans, we have much to be thankful for. So many have sought the refuge and opportunity of our shores because they know that Americans have been blessed with the freedom to speak their minds, worship as they desire and pursue the American dream of a better, more productive and more fulfilling life for themselves and their families.
On this Thanksgiving like many others before them, we give special thanks for our men and women in uniform - past and present. We thank them for the many sacrifices they have made - including their lives - to protect and defend our American way of life.
May God bless you and your family on this day of thanksgiving. Sincerely,
Herman Cain

File this under "Why America is AWESOME": Tonight, simulcast on the Science and Discovery Channel at 8 pm EST, is Punkin Chunkin. The Mythbusters host this crazy contest where crazy people build even crazier machines to hurl pumpkins as far as they can. And they raise money for charities like St. Jude's Children's Hospital and college scholarships. Like I said, it's pure awesomeness. More information about Punkin Chunkin here.

Finally, a little shameless-blog-promotion note: you can help support Sunshine State Sarah by shopping at my Amazon store. It won't cost you anything, but Amazon will donate a percentage of your purchase to me. They have some great Black Friday deals all this week:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
Permissions beyond the scope of this license are available here.