Since this column appears on Thanksgiving Day, I feel it is incumbent upon me to deliver a message appropriate for the holiday. I hope that I am up to the challenge.

Let me tell you up front that I am a traditionalist and that we are still a Christian nation. The God that I know and worship is good. I will always say Merry Christmas.

So if you are looking for a secular message, separating church and state, you won’t find it here, especially on Thanksgiving Day.

Unfortunately, many of our overly politically correct leaders have replaced devout men who once governed us with a strong belief in our creator, and were courageously unafraid to proclaim it.

In 1863, the Congress proclaimed the last Thursday of November would be Thanksgiving Day, an act that was signed by President Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln said, “It is announced in holy scripture and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord. It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.”

Actually, it was Massachusetts Gov. William Bradford who proclaimed the first Thanksgiving Day on Nov. 29, 1623.

On Bradford’s tombstone, inscribed in Latin, are these words: “We should not basely relinquish our Christian heritage to materialism or the modern idea that a nation belongs to the people who live here rather than those who helped build her.”

Fast forward to today: I believe Bradford might say we should recognize a right of all people to practice their own religion, but our great American heritage and God our creator must never be forgotten.

Newcomers should assimilate to their new country, in every way possible, regardless of individual religious beliefs.

Each of us has much to be thankful for. We should give thanks most of all for our freedom; it is unequaled anywhere on earth. We are fortunate to be a nation of laws.

We should give thanks for love, families, friendships, good health, ample food and many opportunities given us in life.

We should be thankful that so many of our people are “good.” Good enough to realize that we are in fact “our brother’s keeper,” and that we must help those unable to help themselves.

I am unabashedly thankful for our Republic and the opportunities delivered by capitalism, a system that has bestowed upon us the greatest degree of prosperity anywhere.

As a national power, however, prestige and wealth unfortunately has created a degree of arrogance and pride that blinds some of us to the true origin of our blessings. Therein may lie one of country’s greatest dangers.

Many of us have different reasons to be thankful, but in my case, after first giving thanks to God for my very existence, I am thankful for a wonderful family in which we give each other unconditional love, for two daughters who chose teaching and helping others as a mission in their lives, a grandson who is about to gain a doctorate degree from Northeastern and to embark on a career in medicine. Most of all, I give thanks for the most wonderful, exceptional wife a man could ever hope for.

I also would like to thank MaineToday Media for the chance to offer information, thoughts and opinion in this forum, three times a month.

I urge each of you to take some time today and list (as I have) what you have to be thankful for. If you are completely honest with yourself, it will be an eye-opener. Don’t worry, we still live in a great country and “we shall overcome” our problems.

Our forefathers knew who to thank and so should we. Happy Thanksgiving Day, everybody. May God bless you all!

Don Roberts is a former city councilor and vice chairman of the Charter Commission in Augusta. He is a trustee of the Greater Augusta Utility District, and a representative to the Legislative Policy Committee of Maine Municipal Association.

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