Much to be thankful for

Published 10:31 am Tuesday, November 25, 2014

By Cam Ward / Guest Columnist
With the election season over and Thanksgiving approaching, now would be a good time for all of us to pause and remind ourselves of everything we have to be thankful for.  Sometimes partisan elections can cause us all to become cynical of the world we live in. That is the nature of the democratic process; however, we should always remember that regardless of election outcomes, we all still have so many blessings to be thankful for.
Thanksgiving is one of America’s most preeminent holidays tracing back to 1621 when the first dinner of thanks was celebrated by pilgrims and Native Americans. After nearly being wiped out by drought and poor crop harvest, the pilgrims prayed to God for help. Their prayers were answered in the form of rain and a good crop harvest with the help of Native Americans in the area. As a celebration of this good fortune, 90 people including the local Native Americans held a feast to thank God for their blessings. It was certainly a challenging time but they realized how much they had to be thankful for. While many of us are not faced with such dramatic circumstances as the pilgrims, there are still many things to be thankful for.
First and foremost, we should be thankful that we live in a country where we can engage in such a spirited political discussion.  I suspect the people of North Korea and Cuba would love to just taste one day of such freedom. The freedom of speech, to practice whatever religion you choose, and to live as you see fit is something I believe we can all be thankful for. Yes, we have our differences, but they are only a shadow of the brutal repression that occurs in so many other countries.
While our civil liberties should be cherished, let us also remember that Thanksgiving is a time to re-engage with our family and friends. Too often, during the hustle of our daily lives we take our loved ones for granted. Taking this time to remind ourselves that family and God are two of the most important factors of our lives should be a priority for everyone. Happy Thanksgiving and may your family have a wonderful holiday.

Cam Ward is a state senator from Alabaster