By Paul DeMarco

The American tradition of Thanksgiving is special for a lot of reasons. The opportunity to celebrate our blessings with our family and friends may come to mind first. Yet, it is also a day that we are thankful for our Nation and the freedoms and liberties we enjoy as United States citizens.

With all of the challenges we face in the Nation and the world it would be easy to be cynical about the holiday this year. However, reflecting back on the origins of the original Thanksgiving enjoyed by the Pilgrims and Native Americans it should remind us how difficult they had it back in the fall of 1621.

When we look at the current headlines we may rightly question the future direction of our country. Crippling inflation, the crisis at the border, out of control violent crime and the threats to national security make it easy to want to look for other reasons to be thankful. Add to that, the wars that are being fought in Europe and the Middle East, it is enough to really question what to show gratitude for this year.

Sometimes it takes a child to help us really appreciate what we should be thankful for in our lives. My young son is studying Alabama history for the first time. With a freshly drawn map of our state, he proudly rolled off all of the attributes that make our state such a good place to call home. From the Appalachian mountains in the north to the beaches on the Gulf to Mexico, Alabama has beautiful topography and geography he reminded me.

He recounted to me from pine trees to iron ore all of the abundant natural resources our state has to share with our country and the world. However, what excited him the the most was talking about all of the famous people that have hailed from Alabama. Which made his point even more clear about our state: it is the people that live here that make it so special.

We live in a state where it is true that neighbors really do take care of each other and its citizens are proud to be American. Thus, as my son reminded me, when we look around at the place we call home, Alabama and its citizens really do shine as a state.

When we thank God at our meal table for the blessings this week for the country we live in, let us also say grace for having the privilege to live in our small part of the world, sweet home Alabama.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives and can be found on X, formerly Twitter, at @Paul_DeMarco