Thanksgiving is here, marking the passage of another year and it presents again the opportunity to gather with family and friends and give thanks; to celebrate what has been bountiful and brought us joy this year. This desire to give thanks is ancient and universal. Modern Thanksgiving celebrations share a history with not only the Pilgrims in Plymouth but with many other cultural and religious traditions as well. The Native Americans that joined them for that feast had long been celebrating the annual harvest each Fall. Celebrations in thanks of the harvest were a part of Egyptian, Greek and Roman culture too, and in China, Chung Ch’ui is an ancient festival celebrating the harvest moon. There are also numerous religious traditions within many faiths that center on giving thanks. Much more information on the holiday is available to those interested. I consulted History.comand How Stuff Works and recommend them.
Whatever its ties to the past or similarities to other celebrations, the modern Thanksgiving holiday is secular and follows a pretty straightforward formula that welcomes everyone regardless – gather a few people, cook a delicious meal, and give thanks, for each other, for the food, for the roof over your head, etc. Without presents to buy and wrap the stress levels are low (although the chefs out there may disagree with me on that one!) and the focus is on each other, the simple pleasure of gathering with people you like and love. The whole point of the holiday is to stop for a moment and reflect on what is good in the world and right in your life. It is no accident that this desire to take stock and give thanks has manifested itself in so many ways across centuries and cultures. We need it almost the way we need food and water. Without it we can become too focused on life’s problems and blinded to anything but what is wrong or we are lacking. Life will never be perfect but there is always something to be thankful for. Taking the time to do so will make you feel better. Recognizing the good and positive things we have renews our spirit and gives us new wellsprings of strength to confront the challenges we face and strive for continued improvement in our lives – personal and civic.
I try to be thankful each day and to show my gratitude throughout the year, so I know that I have said some of these things before, but Thanksgiving is all about abundance and so repeating yourself when you are saying thank you seems highly acceptable. This year, as always, I am so grateful that I have a healthy happy family, my wife, Maria, my daughter, Andrea, and my extended family across the country. I am thankful for the wonderful colleagues I work with at ATR International and am very grateful for the hard work and dedication they bring to the job every day. I also appreciate our loyal clients and thank you for the trust you place in us. I want to thank our military personnel, police, fire and other safety workers, and those providing care and respite to patients in health care facilities. We are all indebted to them. Every day they are out there doing the important work that keeps our communities and our country safe. Thanksgiving is just a very public moment for us to show our appreciation.
Finally, I ask that you remember those who are less fortunate. While everyone has something in their life to give thanks for, some of us have more than others. I encourage everyone to help out in some way, whether it is a donation of time or money to help those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy or supporting a charity closer to home or just welcoming someone far from their own family to your table on Thanksgiving Day. Sharing the blessings of your own life is one of the best ways to give thanks. I wish you all a safe, happy holiday!
President and CEO