This Thanksgiving I’m of course exceedingly thankful for my family, my friends and this great country. No matter the combativeness of current political discourse, there’s no place I’d rather live.
We’re fortunate in so many ways.
But as a foreign policy columnist, I’m tremendously grateful to the brave Americans who work so tirelessly here at home and overseas to keep us safe and secure in an increasing perilous and dangerous world.
While we’re considering a snooze on the couch after a third helping of “bird,” thousands of Americans will be selflessly on duty away from the overflowing dinner table and sights and sounds of the big game on the tube.
They’ll be standing the intelligence and operations watch at the Pentagon and the CIA. Sailors will be at sea, while airmen fly missions in support of soldiers and Marines on patrol in some hellhole far from Mom’s pumpkin pie.
The world doesn’t stop spinning because it’s a holiday here.
Don’t forget those who keep us safe at home, either. The FBI and Department of Homeland Security will be watching for bad guys at airports, borders and at parades and public gatherings.
These public servants don’t get Thanksgiving off either.
Firefighters will be fighting fires caused by careless cooks, while EMS techs, doctors and nurses will be saving lives from highway crashes and local and state police will be on the beat all over this glorious land.
Their loved ones will keep a plate of turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes warm for them, silently praying they come home safe and sound from their jobs of keeping others safe and sound.
I’m also grateful for a country that is willing to do — and does — way more than its fair share to make the world a better place, not just for us but for so many others, too.
For instance, we’ve gone to great pains to crumble the ISIS caliphate in Syria and Iraq. ISIS is in complete crisis due to the heavy lifting of the American-led, anti-Islamic State coalition.
Right now, NASA and the U.S. Navy are assisting the Argentinian Navy to find and rescue a lost submarine with 40-plus officers and sailors aboard, somewhere beneath the South Atlantic.
Then there’s North Korea, with its ballistic missiles and nukes. American military, economic and political power — and the potential pummeling it might mean for Pyongyang — not only serves us, but helps protect so many others as well.
And who’s keeping the pressure on Iran as it works to develop its path of Persian Power across the already-troubled Middle East from the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean?
Again, that’d be us.
The United States has also shored up NATO’s defenses against a resurgent Russia; America is the difference between the South China Sea being open to transit and it being a “Chinese lake.”
We give a lot — and that should make us feel good.
As Americans, we have so much — and so many — to be thankful for as we take just this one day a year to focus our appreciation on all that has been bestowed upon us through our labors, luck and providence.
On Thanksgiving, while we’re clearly not counting our calories, let’s not also forget to count our many blessings.
This piece originally appeared in Boston Herald