Are we really thankful?

Each year, at this time, we pause for two major events in our lives as Americans: Thanksgiving and Veterans Day. These two holidays, each in their own way, offer the same expressions of gratefulness and appreciation. However, there is one aspect of these occasions that are connected in more ways than just the month of the year: Our allegiance and devotion to God.

When we lose someone who has devoted his or her energy to the safety and survival of our American dream or see that the list of wounded increases with each passing day, we pause to express our thanks for their participation in our defense. Our service men and women, who wear the uniform of this great country, are the reason we are free and can, for example, go to the polls and vote our conscience to ensure that the liberties we fought so hard for are still there for those who follow.

Our history as a nation is replete with stories of valor and fortitude. Blood has been shed, not only here, but also on foreign soil because we know that liberty and freedom know no boundaries. Fences and walls may be built, but all they do is concentrate the efforts into a small area waiting to destroy these barriers and join all the rest who have tasted this emancipation.

On November 8th we will, once again, pay homage to the members of our armed forces, both past and present. Join us as we welcome Copper Post #619, its members, relatives and friends.

In addition, at this service we will pause to reflect on our good fortune and express our thanks for a great country. America represents all that is good in the human spirit, even though at times, it seems we lose our way. We have always extended ourselves to others, both here and abroad.

We may have failings, but that comes with experiences that sometimes challenge us. Families will gather, feast on turkey (oh, those poor turkeys), tell stories and wish for a better tomorrow filled with all the celebrations of life. Through it, all we will remember how fortunate we are to live in a land so abundant and diverse, enjoying the rewards of our labors.

This year we are graced with a third celebration – the celebration of new life. Lorrie and Howard Cohen will share with us the joy of greeting two granddaughters, Remington and Reese. Their parents, Jamie and Nathan Hugs will present their daughters to receive their Hebrew names as they are blessed into their Jewish heritage.

This is what thankfulness is all about. God gave us the wonders we witness, the magic of all the days and nights filled with dreams and fulfillment and the capacity to hope for tomorrow’s celebrations together as we watch the continuity of the generations.

Are we really thankful? That is a question that only we can answer for ourselves.
Sandi and I wish everyone a great Thanksgiving holiday filled with remembrances and gratitude.

Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D