Thanksgiving is a time to take more than just a moment to appreciate all that we have and all that we are. In Hawaii there is much to be grateful for: our values of honoring our kupuna and recognizing our ohana, our cultural and ethnic diversity, and our natural environment known around the world.
Among the things I'm grateful for:
* As a community, Hawaii put its best foot forward for the leaders of 21 Asia Pacific countries. We were able to demonstrate aloha as a way of life. The 2011 APEC Hawaii Host Committee and hundreds of volunteers did a great job.
* The hard work and commitment of our teachers -- like Chad Miller, Hawaii's 2012 Teacher of the Year. We also have so many people working hard to educate our keiki, both inside the classroom and out in the community. And it shows -- our students are motivated to learn and are improving their academics. That dedication to learning is reflected as well in our nationally recognized Blue Ribbon Schools -- King Liholiho Elementary, Waialua Elementary and Koko Head Elementary, which I'm proud to say I attended. Let's remember those teachers who made a difference in our lives and take the time to thank those teaching and supporting our youth today.
* The members of our Armed Forces, their families, and our veterans for their courage and determination to serve our country. This year, members of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, 100th Infantry Battalion, and the Military Intelligence Service were recognized with the Congressional Gold Medal, one of our country's highest civilian awards. Join me in sending your warmest and heartfelt appreciation to those servicemembers returning home and to those still serving in areas around the world.
My husband Leighton, my mother Laura, and I wish you and your family the very best on this day of appreciation and thankfulness. I look forward to seeing you throughout the Holiday Season.
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Mazie K. Hirono
Member of Congress
2nd District of Hawaii