Giving Thanks!

Editor’s note: At the request of our readers, we are pleased to reprint this column from 2015.

When I’m worried and I can’t sleep,

I count my blessings instead of sheep,

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

When my bankroll is getting small,

I think of when I had none at all,

And I fall asleep counting my blessings.

— Irving Berlin

Iwant to offer these thoughts as we near the Thanksgiving holiday. For all the blessings that we have, Thanksgiving should serve as a day of thanks and praise. But over the years, we have lost sight of the holiday’s intended purpose.

Sure, some of us will gather together and share in the “bountiful harvest” that has been provided by friends and family.

Too many of us, however, will only concern ourselves with what has become a day dedicated to athletic and retail pursuits. We either gather in front of the television to watch football or strategically map out where to go first inside the mall the next morning … or even on Thanksgiving Day.

Now not every Thanksgiving has to resemble a Norman Rockwell painting, but this holiday, let us focus on what’s really important.

This year there are still too many families struggling to find work or to make ends meet; those of us who have a job, shelter and food on the table should be plenty thankful.

Marshalltown and Marshall County, after all, is known for helping our neighbors and friends.

And over the years, churches, community organizations and clubs, retailers and even strangers have worked together to make sure everyone has a meal or that every child has a toy at Christmas. That work is needed now more than ever.

Last year I witnessed the good work exhibited at the Salvation Army as volunteers fed hundreds of people — some who might not otherwise have a decent meal during the holiday or those who are alone, in search of human kindness and comfort. It was a clear reminder to those of us with friends and families that we should say a prayer for those gifts.

As Americans, let’s be thankful that we live in a democracy that allows so many personal freedoms; we must remind ourselves that there are those in the world who can only dream of the American way of life.

And we give thanks to the men and women who have and will defend each of those American freedoms. It is comforting to know that our military will always be there to protect us. Supporting our troops is critical if we are to continue enjoying the personal liberties we all too often take for granted.

Thanksgiving is not about football and it’s certainly not about holiday shopping. Rather, it’s a quiet gesture to remind us that we have plenty to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or jhutton@timesrepublican.com