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Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. It does not celebrate a great leader or patriotic day, yet it is part of our national existence. While not a religious holiday, it is very much a part of my spiritual life. It is a season to recognize we have been blessed, and from that blessing springs a thankful heart.

When I review the long list of things for which I am thankful in 2013, people top the list. I reflect on those who have died in this past year, and I am grateful that our lives intertwined. For those who are very much alive, the brevity of life reminds me to not take my time with them for granted.

I have been blessed to be surrounded by wonderful people: parents and in-laws who have given me a great heritage, a wife who supports me, adult children and their spouses who make a dad proud, and two grand children. This Thanksgiving, the air will be filled with the squeals and laughter of Thomas and Harper playing on a tire swing in the front yard.

I am thankful for freedom, and those who have fought for it. A little over a year ago, I had the great opportunity to administer the oath of office to my son as he entered the US Navy, and I reflect on those who are not with their families this year because they are keeping us free.

The privilege of calling North Mississippi home is also a blessing. This is a place where we care about our neighbors and are committed to building a better world for successive generations.

For Thanksgiving 2013, I echo the words of the Psalmist of old, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow."

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