As we gather around the dinner table this Thanksgiving, it is important for us to reflect on the great blessings we share as West Virginians and Americans. It is easy to forget how blessed we are to live in a country with the greatest liberties and freedoms in the world, but Thanksgiving is the one day each year that the entire American “family” gathers together to give thanks for the blessings we enjoy. Year after year, we come together no matter what is happening in the life of our country – whether in war or peace, in boom or bust, in triumph or tragedy – and that is something truly unique and special about who we are as Americans.
Growing up in Farmington, I was always taught that if you can count your blessings, you can share your blessings. This important message and my family’s dedication to helping those in need has stuck with me throughout my adult life and has always inspired me to believe in public service and give back to my community.
While we gather together among family and friends, let us never take for granted one of America’s greatest blessings: The men and women of our Armed Forces who stand guard around the world, preserving our freedom and protecting us from harm day in and day out. As Gayle and I sit around our table this Thanksgiving, we will offer a special thanks for their service and sacrifice, and pray that each one of our brave service members safely returns home to their family, friends and loved ones.
Throughout this holiday season, I encourage all West Virginians to pause and truly give thanks for the many blessings we enjoy each day by sharing those blessings with those in need. One of my most cherished traditions is serving wonderful Thanksgiving meals to the less fortunate members of our community alongside my wife Gayle and many tireless volunteers. Through this work of helping others, I am always reminded the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
Despite daily struggles we may encounter, we are all blessed to live in this wonderful country. I am thankful each day for the opportunity to represent the great state of West Virginia. On behalf of Gayle and our family, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. God bless America, and God bless our great state of West Virginia.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is the state's senior senator.