The holidays are a wonderful time to reflect on the past year, to celebrate, and to give thanks for the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy.
This past week, many of us joined families and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving. President Ronald Reagan once commented, "Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day."
Over the years our reasons for celebrating together may have changed with the times, but never has the intent President Reagan spoke of. I'd like to call on all residents of the Third District to think about all we have to be thankful for -- and how we can continue to help our nation.
This holiday season, we are reminded of the many blessings we enjoy as Americans. We continue to live in the greatest nation on earth, and we enjoy freedoms unknown to billions across the globe.
A few weeks ago, our nation took to the polls for one of our crowning achievements -- free elections. As the night wore on, it became obvious in January, when the 112th Session of Congress is sworn-in, a new majority will take over the House of Representatives. There will be no riots; there will be no protests in the street. This is a marked change from nations in which power only is transferred over the barrel of a gun.
For other nations, strife and unrest, and even fear of their neighbors are accepted ways of life. Just days ago, North Korea viciously attacked South Korea -- an action which could have serious ramifications on an international scale. While it is true America will continue to be a target for those who would see freedom and democracy stamped out, we should be thankful our nation remains secure.
With that in mind, let us remember in our thoughts and prayers the men and women in uniform who are responsible for our protection and safety. Many of them will not be home with their families this holiday season, but it is through their sacrifices our rights and freedoms are secured.
We also thank the families of those who are serving. As we celebrate with our loved ones, thousands of tables will save an empty seat for someone in uniform who is unable to join them.
This year, we should remember those facing hardships during a time our economy is struggling to recover. For two years Washington has handed down policies which have vastly increased the size and scope of government and added trillions of dollars to our national debt. These policies have done little to add jobs or provide economic certainty for business owners. Congress now has the opportunity to provide commonsense leadership on fiscal issues as opposed to the free-spending mantra which has dictated Washington policies for too long.
As we enter this holiday season, let's take the time to give thanks for the many blessings we've received and strive to live up to the sacrifices made by so many. As President John F. Kennedy stated, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."