The holidays are a special time to reflect on the past year, to celebrate, and to give thanks for the freedoms and opportunities we enjoy as Americans. President Ronald Reagan reminded us of our blessings in his 1982 Proclamation on Thanksgiving Day: "I have always believed that this anointed land was set apart in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love of faith and freedom."
President Reagan's unapologetic belief in American ideals rings true this holiday season as we reflect and give thanks for the many blessings afforded to us by our exceptional way of life. And despite the problems facing our country, we continue to live in the greatest nation on Earth, and we enjoy freedoms unknown to countless billions around the world.
We also should remember the great number of our fellow citizens who still are struggling through these tough economic times. For too long, 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 create jobs or restore economic certainty for business owners. While Republicans only control one-half of one-third of the federal government, our new majority in the House of Representatives successfully has changed the conversation from "how much to spend" to "how much to cut," and has made historic spending cuts on the long road to restoring fiscal balance. For that I am not only thankful, but also hopeful about our future.
The chance to live in a country with such boundless freedom and potential as ours does not come without a high cost. Accordingly, this holiday season we should be thankful for our men and women in uniform who have purchased our liberty with their service and many of their lives. President Abraham Lincoln echoed this sentiment in his Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863, acknowledging the sacrifice of "life, limb, health, and liberty, incurred by brave, loyal, and patriotic citizens" who took up arms to preserve our Union.
With that in mind, let us keep in our thoughts and prayers the men and women in uniform to whom we owe our freedom and our exceptional way of life. Many of them will not be home with their families this holiday season, but it is through their sacrifices our rights and liberties are preserved. As we come together to celebrate with our loved ones, thousands of dinner tables across Nebraska will have one or more seats left empty by a family member likely serving in harm's way. In addition to our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines, we owe our military families our deepest thanks and gratitude.
Despite these tough times amid war and economic hardship, there is much to be thankful for this holiday season. The unequaled freedom enjoyed by the American people has provided a harvest of plenty to this nation unlike any another other in the annals of history. I urge all residents of the Third District to 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.
For more information about this issue, the latest developments in Congress, or to sign up for Congressman Smith's e-mail newsletter, please visit http://adriansmith.house.gov.