A day for remembrance and reflection | TSLN.com

A day for remembrance and reflection

Barbara and I will gather with family and friends to observe the Thanksgiving holiday this year and share thanks for the many blessings in our lives. This is a time for remembrance and reflection, for friends and family. And there are many reasons this year to give thanks.

We are thankful for the men and women of Ellsworth Air Force Base, who work to keep our nation safe and secure against the threat of terrorism. For the members of the South Dakota National Guard and their willingness to answer the call in times of need, we give thanks. We are thankful for our state's veterans who have selflessly served our nation. We are blessed to have the EMTs, fire, rescue, emergency and law enforcement personnel who keep our communities safe.

The doctor, nurse and health care professional who takes an extra moment to provide a listening ear and a comforting hand to a patient deserve our thanks. We appreciate the women's shelters that provide a safe and secure place for victims of domestic violence. Let us remember the homeless shelters, food banks and kitchens that provide a roof and nourishing food to those in need.

We are thankful for our ranchers and farmers who help fill the bread baskets and grocery carts across our state, nation and world. The generous response of South Dakotans to aid our ranchers who lost so much during the blizzard is another reason to be thankful.

South Dakota is home to many exceptional teachers and school personnel, who build and expand the minds of our youngest citizens so that they may explore new horizons. Our state's universities, colleges and technical schools prepare our young people for the challenges that lie ahead in the workforce. Thank you to all these educators.

We are thankful for our family and friends, especially Brooks, Brendan, Kelsey and our six grandchildren. We are grateful for cherished memories and those fundamental South Dakota values that allow us to appreciate good times and persevere through times of difficulty.

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Hebrews 13:16 states: "Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." As a state, we can be thankful for the great spirit of volunteerism that is so strong among South Dakotans. It's evident in the volunteers who visit VA hospitals and nursing homes; who take a senior citizen to a doctor's appointment or to the grocery store; who help someone learn to read; or who answer telephone calls at a non-profit agency. It's the volunteer who takes time to coach, judge a youth event or serve as a mentor. It's the Lakota elder who passes down the gifts of knowledge and tradition to Native youth.

From Barbara and myself, Happy Thanksgiving.

S.D. Senator Tim Johnson