- Cullman, Alabama


November 28, 2013

Giving thanks for what matters

CULLMAN — What are your plans today? A visit with family or friends? A feast of turkey and dressings and abundant side dishes? Hours of football in front of the TV?

Take your choice, they’re all rewarding moments. Families reflect on the latest happenings and those who have passed on. Friends share their latest adventures and goals for the future. And football, it’s just a great American feature that millions enjoy.

But on this day, will you pause to give thanks for the people and places that matter?

Life churns forward and loved ones come and go. Some places change in the name of progress. Others decline as time passes them by.

But the reliable portions of life are where we find strength. Faith, the extension of family through generations and a nation that holds some basic truths as its foundation.

Much of the world is embroiled in war and chaos. Families are being slaughtered in the name of ideologies and religions. Countries have been torn apart by civil war and sectarian violence. In some cases, there appears to be no end in sight to the unrest and the bloodshed.

The United States has weathered many challenges in its history. A civil war, deep-rooted discrimination and bigotry and dramatic economic downturns have shattered lives and pushed the country to the edge of existence. But the spirit that gave rise to Declaration of Independence and the sensibility of the U.S. Constitution — documents of common sense and tolerance that recognize the basic rights of every person — are at least entrenched in American society.

Long ago, early settlers and Native Americans joined together to celebrate and give thanks for the importance of a good harvest. In doing so, two cultures found a common ground of existence, tolerance and peace.

Thanksgiving is a time to recognize the things, with clear vision, that we often take for granted. Without this time to pause and take stock of what truly matters, the foundations of our strength would vanish.

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