For these things, I am thankful

2016 has been a year of sharp division among many people in our country, but pales in comparison to what our nation faced in 1863. On October 3rd 1863, President Lincoln signed Proclamation 106, Thanksgiving Day, less than three months after the battle of Gettysburg, a battle that produced 45,515 killed, wounded or missing troops on both sides in less than three days. Also, 45,000 horses and mules were killed during the battle. Even though our nation was enduring unimaginable suffering by today’s standards, President Lincoln saw a need to offer thanks for our blessings amidst the present turmoil. Each sitting President since 1863 has signed a similar proclamation establishing the last Thursday in November as a day to give thanks, thus creating Thanksgiving Day. The only exception to this was when Franklin Roosevelt was President. In 1939, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving Day up a week to allow for a longer Christmas shopping season in hopes of boosting the economy. This change was only temporary and was moved back to the last Thursday of November in 1941. The simple truth is that in 2916 we have so much in which to be thankful. Let’s start with your health. If you are able to say that you enjoy good health, be thankful. If you did not go to bed hungry last night, be thankful. If you had a roof over your head to protect yourself from the elements last night, be thankful. If you were able to clothe yourself this morning, be thankful. These are the basic needs many of us take for granted each day without ever thinking how vital they are to our lives. A good exercise in being thankful would be to write down five things you are thankful for each morning for the next 30 days. A study conducted on human behavior had one group of students write each day what they were thankful for, another group write things that they were upset or mad about and a third group write about whatever they wanted. At the end of the study, I’m sure you can guess which group was the happiest and most satisfied with their lives. The ones who gave thanks each day. That being said, here is part of the list of things for which I am thankful this Thanksgiving. I am truly thankful for a forgiving, loving God, my family, friends and co-workers. For Clinton, South Carolina, the city which I have considered home for the past 44 years. The city in which all three of my children were born and educated. All three of my children are Clinton High and Presbyterian College graduates. Which reminds me to be thankful for all the teachers and professors who helped educate my children. Clinton, South Carolina is a great place to live. It really is! Sure we can always find something which we can find fault with, but I cannot think of many places to live where I can be at work, the doctor’s office, the dentist, the hospital, a drug store, the grocery store, the library, the YMCA or watch a college sports event within five minutes of my home. I can also be in the mountains or the beach within three hours from my doorstep or be at Lake Greenwood in 20 minutes. Is Clinton perfect? Absolutely Not, but show me a place that is. I am very thankful to be able to call Clinton, South Carolina my home. In closing, be thankful for what you have. There will always be someone who has more and there will always be someone who has less than you. Be thankful for what you have and count your blessings each day. Hope you have a very thankful Thanksgiving. (Bob McLean is mayor of Clinton.)

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