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Still able to give thanks after storms

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Nov. 28, 2013 9:09 p.m. CDT
(Candace H.Johnson)
Candace H. Johnson A handful of preschool students leaves decorate the Tree of Thanks before more are added from the rest of the students for the Thanksgiving Feast at St. Joseph School in Round Lake.

Thursday is the one day a year we set aside to offer thanks.

Thanksgiving’s origins stem from a heartfelt gathering in Plymouth about 1621, a celebration of thanks for a good harvest by those in a new homeland. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to declare it a federal holiday, and since then it has almost always been celebrated the fourth Thursday in November.

Of course, we shouldn’t wait to thank those who deserve it. It should be done often and sincerely, but still, it’s nice to have an entire day dedicated to the idea that giving thanks is worth pausing for.

In Grundy County, one could take the view that we have little to be thankful for right now. Just 10 days ago, a tornado ripped through two of our communities and damaged hundreds of buildings, injured four, and left the lives of thousands in a state of permanent upheaval.

Yet we find ourselves still able to give thanks.

We are thankful that no lives were lost in Grundy County because of the storm.

We are thankful for the community’s amazing response to the storms. From the outpouring of food and clothing, to offers of shelter for those without homes, to the thousands of dollars donated so those who lost everything could start rebuilding, we remain in awe of the generosity displayed by so many – and by the private acts of kindness that we’ll likely never know about.

We are thankful for schools that educate our children, churches that minister to our spiritual needs and businesses that work to keep our economy thriving.

We are thankful for family and friends who love and support us throughout the ups and downs life throws our way.

And we are thankful for the simplest things too: Good health, a child’s smile, a turkey in the oven, a day off from work or a hug from a relative you don’t see often.

Even among the difficult times many are enduring, we are able to find things to be thankful for. And that is, at its root, what Thursday is about.

Enjoy the day. Give thanks. Happy Thanksgiving.

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