“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of Nov. 14: Giving Thanks

In just a few days, families and friends throughout Missouri and the nation will join together in celebration of Thanksgiving, a day that offers us the increasingly rare opportunity of taking a break from our hectic schedules and simply enjoying the company of our loved ones. And while every Thanksgiving reminds us to reflect on how blessed we are, the idea of giving thanks seems to carry a little extra weight this year.

For a long time now, our citizens have seen and heard of the deep divisions in our country. Yet, America has certainly faced difficult times in the past, and we have endured, stronger and more resilient. In fact, the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate today was largely borne out of a desire to heal and unite a nation.

It was in the midst of the Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln issued his Proclamation of Thanksgiving, officially setting aside the last Thursday in November as a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” It was his hope that a national day of observance would help “to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”

We are never going to be a perfect society, but we are a free society. We are never going to agree with everyone on everything, but we have the right to express our disagreement. Give thanks for the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy, and recognize they are abundant compared to what so many others in the world have. Give thanks for all those who have bravely fought to defend our liberties and keep us safe.

This Thanksgiving, I encourage everyone to take the opportunity to slow life down for just a few moments, reflect on how truly fortunate we are to live in the United States of America and remember to enjoy the company of those who enrich our lives. I sincerely hope you and your family have a joyous Thanksgiving holiday, filled with gratitude and love. Take care and God bless.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.