Setting aside a day to give thanks is one of this country's finest traditions.

Some of us are eagerly counting down the seconds until Friday morning to launch a frenzy of shopping to charge toward the next holidays they observe on the calendar. Some stores are even open for shopping today.

Thanksgiving is a day for indulgence, and many of us will overdose on food and/or football. But we hope all of us are able to take some moments today and think of a few things for which we're thankful.

• Family and friends. Taking either for granted is easy. Remember them, and don't be afraid to remind them how you feel.

• Servicemen, past and present. Thank them for their service, and remind them of the assistance groups available. We continue to learn that our servicemen aren't always taken care of or appreciated after their return. Don't wait for them to ask for help.

• Freedom. We're all taking greater advantage of our freedom of speech, for example. Living in a country where criticism of the government results in arguments instead of jail is something that earns gratitude.

• A roof and a warm bed. Some of us have more or less than others. But once we see those who have little and aren't sure where they're sleeping next, our abodes become far more precious.

• Technology and our ability to afford and use it. Not so long ago, the idea of being able to carry in our pocket a small computer holding thousands of photographs, hundreds of songs, dozens of movies and having the entirety of man's knowledge was exclusively the stuff of science fiction.

• The things that make us laugh. It can be something we see or hear. Laughter is the most joyous sound.

• Howard Buffett and The Howard G. Buffett Foundation. Our community is a better place because he's here.

• Law enforcement. The police in our Decatur region work tirelessly to make sure we are safe.

• Small acts of kindness. We don't have to change the world with every generous gesture. Holding a door for someone, letting someone in front of us in line, allowing the other driver the right of way (without any gestures) – all are things that last long beyond the meager amount of time they take.

• Chocolate. Or something else sweet. Or something fried. On this day, we celebrate our plenty. We should enjoy it as well as be thankful.

• Sports. Honestly. Maybe today is overwhelmed with too much football, and maybe there's just too many sports in your life. But remember the joy fans take in what they love. That goes for other programming as well.

• Quirky family and friends traditions. If you're fortunate enough to be able to spend time with either today (and/or later), embrace them and let them know they're appreciated, especially the improbable things you do regularly just because they mean something to you and them.

• Pets. We might take our critters for granted. We shouldn't. They don't ask much of us, and give so much in return.

• Your support group. We all need one, and we're fortunate to have them. Again, thank them directly. It can't be overdone.


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