Once again Thanksgiving is upon us. And, once again, we know this because the center sections of the newspapers are filled with multitudinous amounts of ads screaming about the onset of the 'holiday season.
We aren't allowed to call it "Christmas" any more, for fear of offending those who don't believe in such things, lest they get their feelings all wounded by a celebration of peace and love.
I continue to shock and amaze folks by wishing them 'Merry Christmas!' instead of the politically correct 'Happy Holidays'. (This could be any holiday you wanted, I suppose. It's the all purpose greeting!).
Anyway, this is supposed to be a Thanksgiving column. I, personally, have many things to be thankful for this year: gainful employment; a great wife who still puts up with me; kids that are healthy and not burning down the local school. And then there are all the little things that make life fun - a goofy dog; co-workers with a sense of humor; good friends; enough money in the bank to have a decent Christmas; and the ability to sit down and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade on TV with my family (a tradition in our house).
When you get right down to it, Americans, as a whole, have lots to be thankful for this year. We can purchase whatever we want, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and buy happiness (or go in debt trying), but we don't often think about those "little things," intangibles really, for which we should be thankful. Be thankful you have clean water to drink. Be thankful for the roof over your head, and the job (no matter how much you hate it) you have that puts food on the table. Be thankful that we live in a free country, where we can, within limits, do what we want, no matter how irrational or goofy it might appear.
I'm thankful for those in emergency services who will be "pulling the duty" this year, as they do every year on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and all the days in between. Your police, firefighters, ambulance crews and dispatchers will be watching over you and yours.
If you perchance manage to set the turkey afire, trained firefighters will be at your beck and call to put out the fire. If you get into a disagreement with a relative over the election, and things get too heated, the police will come to calm things down. If someone chokes on a piece of turkey while watching the donnybrook, EMS will respond.
All of these folks will be dispatched by 911 center operators. They will have put off their Thanksgiving celebrations to ensure yours is safe. That's a lot to be thankful for, that people like this are willing to do that for total strangers.
Lastly, one thing I'm particularly thankful for are our military folks. I've spent many a thanksgiving deployed, and I well know how it feels to be far from home and hearth during the holiday season.
Those folks, all of them, at "The tip of the spear," volunteered to be there, even if the tip of the spear is in some lonely guard shack in the middle of nowhere, pulling a 12-hour shift with only a small space heater for warmth.
I am thankful that we still have men and women who willingly put themselves in harms way for us, despite the fact that many times, "we" don't fully appreciate the jobs they do.
It's through their actions, both today, and in decades past, that we can all sit down and enjoy the holiday in relative peace and security this and every year.
I well know the price you pay to wear that uniform. So, to those serving, and to those who have served, I thank you.
Stay low, and Happy Thanksgiving!