Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for Nov. 17, 2022

Beyond Blessed

Thanksgiving marks one of my favorite times of the year. This holiday gives each of us the opportunity to come together with our loved ones and give thanks. We are an incredibly blessed people, living in an amazing country, and we have much to be thankful for as we gather this year for Thanksgiving. While it was not until President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that brought about an national day of giving thanks, the history of Thanksgiving can be traced back far before his proclamation or even the founding of our country.

In 1621, the pilgrims at Plymouth celebrated a successful harvest with a three-day feast and invited members of the Wampanoag tribe, a group of local Native Americans, to join them. The pilgrims had endured numerous hardships during their long and difficult journey to the new world, but with the help of the Wampanoag tribe, they were able to survive and forge new lives, free of religious persecution. Likely served fowl, venison and other local fruits and vegetables, the menu of what would become known as the first Thanksgiving was probably much different than what you and I will experience this year. Nevertheless, the first Thanksgiving feast gave pilgrims the opportunity to give thanks and celebrate their first successful harvest in the new world.

Today, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the food, the football and the Black Friday shopping deals that always seem to dominate Thanksgiving and the days surrounding the holiday. Sure, those are fun and enjoyable parts of the holiday, and they even play a role in bringing us together, but it’s those we share it with that really matter. It’s about coming together with family and friends, counting our blessings and reminding our loved ones of how thankful we are to have them in our lives.

As you gather with friends and family this Thanksgiving, I ask you to remember the men and women of our military and say a prayer for their safety. Many of them will not be with the ones they love this holiday season as they continue to put their lives on the line to keep our country safe. Their selfless sacrifice ensures our country continues to have the opportunity to come together and celebrate Thanksgiving — we are a blessed nation.

From my family to yours, we hope you have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.

As always, I am honored to serve the citizens of the 6th Senatorial District. Please feel free to contact my office at 573-751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate webpage at