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News > Commentary - Live in thanksgiving daily
Live in thanksgiving daily

Posted 11/24/2010   Updated 11/29/2010 Email story   Print story


Commentary by Col. Michael Hornitschek
375th Air Mobility Wing Commander

11/24/2010 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill.  -- There's nothing better than when family and friends gather around the table to share in a Thanksgiving feast. It's one time during the year when we can come together and enjoy a favorite dish, a friendly smile and a warm heart.

It's a time to make pumpkin pies, Grandma's rolls and to try not to start a fire with a fried turkey. Kids--old and young--gather in the backyard to play football while the real cooks put the finishing touches on the holiday feast. There's usually a lot of talk on current events and catching up on each other's lives. Laughter and gratitude permeate our home.

That's a feeling we should try to capture year-round, and we can ... by living in thanksgiving daily. Those who do realize they have unlocked the fullness of life. It shouldn't be hard to recognize the good in our lives -- it should be an effortless and natural state of being. When we are thankful, as author Melody Beattie states, what we have becomes enough. When we're thankful, "our problems turn into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events."

What a remarkable way to view life and our journey through it. Gratitude makes it full. You've probably seen TV shows where children get everything they want, and yet those great kids are unhappy because things can never replace a true inner happiness. The problem with things is that there are never enough--never enough toys or games or clothes or shoes to fill the emptiness created by a life that knows no simple joys.

When things are replaced by moments, memories, friendships and recognition of inner strengths and talents, only then can we make any sense of our place in the world. Living with thanksgiving daily means we can enjoy something as simple as taking a walk and appreciating the color on the leaves or the mild weather that lingers. It's a way to view the world around us and see the good in ourselves and others. It's a way to build resiliency, which then allows us to cope more effectively when negative things pop up in our lives.
Do we live in thanksgiving daily and have gratitude for the work we do? Are we thankful for the mental and physical abilities to accomplish the work? Work can be demanding, and there are many long days that take us away from our loved ones, but being grateful to serve our nation gives me the energy to accomplish the tasks at hand. Being grateful that I have the health to go to work, deploy, fly and lead means that it's not drudgery.

Having the outstanding support systems around us -- our families, friends, coworkers, leaders, Wingmen, helping agencies--means we can be more effective and balanced as we work, live and play.

There's an Estonian Proverb that says, "He who does not thank for little, will not thank for much." Let me express to you how thankful I am for all the small and big ways you make work a pleasant place to be, for your dedication to your teammates, and for your willingness to serve our nation. While we enjoy this Thanksgiving time together, I am also profoundly aware and grateful every day for those serving in harm's way, far from friends and loved ones. They are in my thoughts daily, along with family members left behind. Let us continue to live with thanksgiving daily and do all we can to pass the gift of gratitude along to all those we come in contact with.

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