As so many of us drive home this week, take the train across states, or fly across the country, we’ll have a little extra time to think about and reflect on what we’re thankful for this Thanksgiving Day.
Family, friends and home will come to mind for most of us.
And these are all legitimate things to be grateful for, to be sure.
But if we drill down a little deeper, perhaps we can ask: What made those things possible? Who and what even brought them into being?
How about our country?
There are many answers to that.
There are all those who fought and bled for us.
There are the entrepreneurs, the visionaries, the business people and so many others who risked their livelihoods to give us a better way of life.
And there are the millions and millions of everyday Americans who live here and love this country.
But this Thanksgiving week, let’s call attention to a particular group of Americans as well.
When we think of and are thankful for the many blessings the United States bestows upon us all, let’s recall those men over two centuries ago in Philadelphia who gambled all so that we could become free.
We need to be thankful for the Founding Fathers.
It is rare in the life of any nation, much less the world, that so many selfless geniuses were together in one place. These were men who easily could have designed an oligarchy to benefit themselves.
They could have designed a monarchy to ape the British.
George Washington was even offered the crown by some of his own officers, but he turned it down.
The men of Philadelphia could have — in the first few years when the going was rough at places like Valley Forge — thrown up their hands and surrendered.
Surely King George III of Great Britain would have rewarded some of them well for their capitulation.
But they chose another path — and we reap the benefits still today.
We also must realize what they designed. A working free-market republic is the exception to the rule of world history.
The vast majority of regimes from time’s dawn until now have been stern orders that featured one group’s oppression of another to a degree that the oppressed group becomes chattel.
Aside from the West, Japan, and several dozen other nations out of over 200, that is still the situation today.
Yes, the trend over the last 30 years is a good one. But it is not dispositive by any means.
Russia, China, North Korea, and Cuba are more the historical norm than we are.
That’s why this nation, the United States of America, is such a special place deserving of our thanks.
And that’s why those who brought it into being deserve our reverence.