Gratitude

Turkey dinners, cranberries, candied yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and family gatherings—these are all commonly associated with most Americans in a celebration of giving thanks—Thanksgiving Day!

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The pilgrims could never have imagined that America would become the global superpower it is today. Our country is on the forefront of economic prosperity, medical science, technology, food production, sanitation, architecture and space exploration. We have freedoms unheard of in some other countries and we fight to keep and strengthen our freedoms.
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The income and standard of living for most Americans is relatively high when compared to other industrialized nations. But, this is a blanketed statement which overlooks countless people in our American communities. Many people barely scratch the surface to afford the traditional family gathering with turkey and trimmings. Some don’t even have family.​​​
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Gratitude
For me, Thanksgiving is a time to not only be thankful for the life I’ve been given to build upon, but also to think of others who are less fortunate. I joined friends to serve dinner to the residents at Tender Mercies in Cincinnati. These folks lent me a heart-felt connection and while they thanked us for their dinner,
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  •  I thank them for inviting us into their home,

 

  • I thank them for letting me meet them and

 

  • to get to know them a little better (some I’ve seen in passing when on my job at the public library),

 

  • I thank them for letting me give back to my community.
What is Tender Mercies:
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Tender Mercies is a supportive and transitional housing environment, located in Over-the-Rhine on 12thStreet (Cincinnati).
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Their stated mission is: “Tender Mercies transforms the lives of homeless adults with mental illness by providing security, dignity, and community in a place they call home.”
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Ongoing Opportunities to Give:
If you are in our community and would like to know more; perhaps help out, visit Tender Mercies’ website.
If you are in other parts of America and would like to find ways you can give to others, here is but one source to point you in the right direction: the website for Volunteer Match.
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What are your experiences with being thankful?
 Of community?
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In gratitude, 
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Be In the Moment with a Veteran

Adlai E. Stevenson (23rd U.S. Vice President) said, (quote) “Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.” (unquote).xxxx
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Dear Veteran-Friends,
The dedication that you—our men and women fighting for our country—is indelible. Your fight on the front-lines and commitment to public service enables us to learn compassion and grow intellectually. Freedom isn’t free. Those who are willing to pay the price, the time away from their families, and the endless dangers of the battleground are our true heroes. Our hearts and minds are changed forever and we are grateful.
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Dear Friends, here are some ways to remember our Veterans.

REFLECTION

  • Read something a Veteran wrote about their experience.
  • Write in your journal how thankful you are for the service of Veterans.
  • Take a private moment to be proud of your country.
  • Observe a moment of silence with family and friends.
  • Take a moment to reflect on what it means to live in America.
  • Hang an American flag in your yard.
  • Use Social Media to #THANKAVET!
SAY THANKS
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  • Write and send a letter to someone who’s currently serving in the military.
  • Thank a Veteran co-worker for their service.
 GIVE THANKS
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  • Donate time or money or supplies to local Veterans Day drives.
  • Volunteer to help a Veteran’s service organization.
 ACTION
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  • Shake a Veteran’s hand.
  • Teach a child what it means to be a Veteran.
  • Send an email to the people on your contact list that tells a Veteran’s story.
  • Attend a Veterans Day event.
  • Go to a Veterans Day parade.
 BE IN THE MOMENT WITH A VETERAN
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  • Ask a Veteran about their time in the military, and really listen to the answer.
  • Visit a home-bound Veteran in their home.
  • Visit a homeless Veteran under a bridge.
  • Take a Veteran out to dinner.
  • Take dinner in to a Veteran.
  • Buy a homeless Veteran a cup of coffee.
  • Mark on your calendar a day each month to do one of the above listed—even though Veteran’s Day will have passed.
Examining our past and learning from it means seeing not only our achievements, but our failings. Accountability to our communities involves not only creating a society which makes us proud, but also recognizing and then changing those darkest impulses which have marred our country.
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Additional Resources:

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https://www.operationgratitude.com/

https://www.dav.org/

  Please share a Veteran-story with us in the comments.
*In memory of my father who I came to know and love only after his death: Robert Frank Wells (1943-2015), Commanding Officer, U.S.N.R., Retired 1969. 
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Thank you Dad, for life
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