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120 E Constitution St
Victoria, TX 77901

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Giving Thanks

After teaching at Texas Lutheran, we hopped in the car to head home. Instead of the usual discussion of finance, politics and sports trivia we listened to the real-time reports of terrorist attacks in Paris. After a great day with our students, it slapped me back into reality.  The situation is truly sad and one for which there are no easy answers.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner my mind quickly veered away from football and turkey to being thankful for a variety of simple concepts; things we often take for granted which are not present in all nations or societies. These liberties are under attack.

I am thankful for freedom and democracy. These are not free or guaranteed. We stand on the shoulders of everyone who has ever served our nation. It is an incredible sacrifice and investment in future generations.

I am thankful that when I disagree with our politicians, which is often, I can vote and speak my mind without fear of persecution.

I am thankful I can pursue any education, degree or license I want and education is available to men and women alike.

Despite its flaws, I am thankful for capitalism and a free market society. It allows effort and innovation to be rewarded. Capitalism fosters investment and progress. When combined with frugality, capitalism leads to financial independence and enhanced control over one’s destiny.

I am thankful for the opportunity to get up and go to work. And if I don’t like a job or career, I can find another one. If I want to earn more I can go in a bit earlier, stay later, or work multiple jobs. A job is a privilege.

I am thankful I paid income taxes. It means I made money.

I am thankful I can worship anywhere I want to. As extremist behaviors are ever-present in the world we live in, I am increasingly thankful for my religious freedoms and the respect for others to do the same.

I am thankful I can travel to any city or state within our nation at any time. We have a great interstate highway system. I have the opportunity to travel to other countries. Although it is nice to see faraway lands and meet other people, it always makes me happy to come home.

I am thankful I can drink the water straight from the faucet. My toilet flushes as many times as I can push the lever and every week these nice people come to my house to haul away my trash. They are so good I never give it a second thought.

I am thankful for law enforcement…no matter how many times they pull me over. I’m pretty sure I deserved it. I am thankful for the fire department and EMS. Although there are many easier ways to make a living, these people put the needs of others before their own every day. They are true first responders to any crisis.

I am thankful for electricity. Every time I flip that switch, there is a magical illumination of lights, TV’s, refrigerators and air-conditioning.

I am thankful for healthcare and medical advancements. My mother has battled breast cancer twice and a brain tumor. At age 82 she moves a little slower, but she is still going. With two artificial knees, an artificial hip and four recently repaired aneurysms, my father is the modern embodiment of the bionic man. Both will be at our table for Thanksgiving.

I am thankful we are a nation so abundantly rich in food and resources that there is enough to share with those of us who are less fortunate.

I am thankful we are a nation of immigrants who decided the United States of America was the way to a better life.

We live in a truly wonderful country. It may not be perfect, but it makes one give thanks each and every day. 

Originally published November 21 2015, Victoria Advocate