Tomorrow is celebrated throughout the United States as a day for reflecting on the many things for which we have reason to be thankful. Among them the fact that we live in a country where we are free to think and believe as we choose.
The freedom celebrated by the Pilgrims on that first Thanksgiving Day in 1621 includes the right to worship as we please--or not at all. In many countries around the world, the state religion governs every aspect of daily life. In America, we follow our own beliefs, whatever they may be. We are thankful that we can worship however we choose, alone or with others of our persuasion.
This same freedom lets us determine our own destinies. We are free to become what we will. Success is determined by individual ability, not limited by the strictures of the past. We are thankful that we can be what our talents and skills--and each among us has many--give us the freedom to be.
The most important element of our freedoms, upon which all others rest, was borne out by the mid-term elections of November 7. In many countries, elections, when they are held at all, are a sham. The leadership assumes power by force, often claiming divine right. Here in the United States, each vote counts and we choose
our leaders through fair and free elections. We are thankful that we have inherited and maintain a representative democracy through which, by right, we govern ourselves.
On this Thanksgiving Day 2006, let us appreciate that we live in a country where we can determine our laws and our beliefs and choose our leaders. It is that freedom which assures that we survive, and even prevail, and it is that freedom, from which stems all others, for which we especially give thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you from all of us!