Thanksgiving always lingers in my memory as a special time. When I was in the U.S. Army, I remember returning home from Germany in 1993 on leave for the holiday and the memory has always stuck.

I understand on some level that the circumstances of that particular holiday — I had been away from home for a while — proved to be more poignant than usual.

The holiday meant a whole lot then, as a young man serving, and it means just as much today.

I recall the family dinner on that Thanksgiving through a prism of gratitude. Gratitude I was home, gratitude that my family and I could all be together, if only for a short period.

I knew I was going back to my Army unit soon and that, I think, made the time I spent at home that much more enjoyable.

As I’ve grown older and made my way through the journalism business, that particular holiday continues to sparkle in my memory. On the face of it, I didn’t have a lot to be thankful for. I was living on an enlisted man’s wage in a far-off country and preparing to go to war somewhere.

Yet, looking back now, I realize there was a lot to be thankful for. I was with my family. I was healthy. I was a member of one of the greatest organizations in the world and I was serving my country.

I know through the years I’ve found myself in a place where I forget, as Thanksgiving approaches, all the things I should be grateful for. I don’t spend a lot of time on the sentiment, but as I’ve aged I’ve realized that there are always things I can look at and say, “There, there is something I am thankful for.”

The world delivers heartbreak and tragedy at a steady rate. There seems to be no end to the amount of misfortune produced by humans, and it can be easy to forget that despite the mishaps and catastrophes, there is always plenty to be thankful about.

I know when I sit down this Thanksgiving, I will reflect on all that is good and right about our world.

At least for a day, I will focus on what Thanksgiving means and why it is important to count my blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving to you. ———

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Andrew Cutler is the interim editor of The Observer and the regional editorial director for the EO Media Group, overseeing The Observer, East Oregonian and four more newspapers in Eastern Oregon.

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