The Blessings We Take for Granted
In the United States, November is the month in which we
celebrate Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a time for us to pause
for a moment and give thanks for all of the wonderful blessings
we have in our lives. Yet, this year, it’s difficult to feel thankful
when there is such tragedy in the Middle East. The horrific act of
terrorism against the US Navy, and the death and destruction
occurring between Palestinians and Israelis does not necessarily
make for a joyous or thankful time at all. The hope brought
about by peace talks in the summer seems to have shattered in
the fall. And it looks as though it may be a very cold winter.
One of the women killed in Yemen is from the city where I live. I
have watched the news accounts night after night of her family’s
pain and suffering. It has put a very human face on the
sometimes sterile reports of casualties and losses. She left
behind a toddler; now there is just one more child in the world
without a mother.
Seeing her family; seeing her pictures, being given a glimpse of
the life she lived, I began to realize just how much I have to be
I am thankful for her and the other men and women who gave
their lives in Yemen to insure peace for my family and me. I am
thankful for their families who made the ultimate sacrifice by
giving of their fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers,
sisters, sons and daughters for the promise of peace. I am
thankful for all the men and women who came before them and
fought and died for freedom. Freedom, it seems, comes at a
Anything worth having does. That price can be time, money,
emotional or physical commitment, but whatever the price it
seems the best rewards in life aren’t free. Too often we forget
that. We become consumed with our own struggles and wonder
why “life” isn’t easier.
Maybe life was never supposed to be “easy”. Or maybe it’s all a
matter of perspective.
My son is growing up in an area where bombs do not explode
and gunfire doesn’t fill the streets, unlike the children of
Northern Ireland or the Gaza Strip. He’s got plenty of heat in the
winter and food in his stomach, unlike millions of children
throughout the world. He’s got two parents who love him, unlike
the infant child who just lost her mother to a terrorist attack she
will never understand.
On November 7th I will vote in my country’s presidential election,
unlike millions whose voices are not allowed to be heard. I have
choices to do anything or be anything I want, unlike countless
women worldwide. My family has access to limitless education,
unlike hundreds of thousands who do not.
We have infinite possibilities bound only by our imaginations
and willingness to try and to work. And we have all that we have
because of the courageous men and women who came before us
and sacrificed to pave the way.
Maybe it’s not a coincidence that November brings Election Day,
Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day all in a row. First we have
the privilege of voting. Then on Veterans Day we can remember
and pay respects to all the individuals who fought and died for
that right. Finally we can give thanks for all of it, for our
freedoms, for our forefathers, and for all of our choices and
opportunities. These are blessings we take for granted while
others give up their lives to obtain or to protect. Just ask the
men and women of the USS Cole…
Jacqueline McLaughlin Hale is a CPA and the editor of Between
Friends: Resources for Mothers – http://www.betweenfriends.org
– Jacqueline McLaughlin Hale
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