November offers reason to give thanks

The month of November is significant in our culture for a couple of reasons—the first of which is Veterans Day.
As you witnessed last week, Veterans Day presents an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices of the men and women who defend the freedoms you and I enjoy.

And the ceremony on the Upper Parade Ground, in the presence of our local veterans, reinforced the pride and gratefulness we experience as citizens of this republic. Standing at attention as Norwich Artillery Battery performed the roll of wars was a powerful reminder for all of us that freedom is not free.
Later that evening, we gathered in Shapiro Field House to hear General Colin Powell deliver his Todd Lecture. I have to say, in all my years as president of Norwich, I have never seen an audience so completely charmed by one of our guest speakers. I hope that his messages about the flaws within our government and the importance of elections, and his words about what truly makes our country great, hit home for you, as your generation is the one being asked to keep it great.
As you well know, the other meaningful day in November is Thanksgiving. And although the harvest celebration we call Thanksgiving only became an “official” federal holiday in 1863, the practice of setting aside time to give thanks dates back to our earliest European forebears. On this day, all across our country, families gather in their homes and express gratitude for their many blessings.
Thanksgiving is a truly American holiday, and one of my favorites. There is no prolonged media hype, no gifts to exchange, and you can always count on a great meal and some good football on TV. It is also a time for each household in America to celebrate in its own way, with its own family traditions. I know that Jamie and I will be spending it with our kids and grandkids, so you can be sure there will be abundant activity.
Many of you reading this are focused on heading home for a well-deserved break. Have fun and enjoy the time away, but in between the turkey, touchdowns, and trips to the mall, don’t forget what this holiday is really about. Take some time to sit back and reflect on the abundance you are blessed with—food, clothes, a roof over your head, people who care about you, and the opportunity to receive a college education. These fundamental needs are all that is required to embark on a successful path in life—the rest is completely up to you.

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