Gwinnett Daily Post-So many things change over time. Seasons and holidays pass year after year, leaders come and go, but through it all, a great many things stay the same. In a world filled with inevitable — and oftentimes rapid — change, I’m grateful that we pause as a nation to celebrate the enduring principles of gratitude, humility and courage that capture the spirit of Thanksgiving.

American author Henry David Thoreau once said, “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual,” and in his words I believe we find a wonderful truth present in the American heart. Of course we enjoy all the happiness that comes with the holiday, but our gratitude is always present. That’s where the humility comes in. Even when life and routines get overwhelming, we don’t lose sight of the courage of those who came before us; of those who have sacrificed greatly to preserve the liberty we treasure; of the life with which we’ve been tremendously blessed. Irrespective of our many backgrounds and differences, the common ground we share is found in the recognition of those blessings as they relate to our individual circumstances.

Why are we grateful? There are myriad reasons. It’s a question that would be answered differently perhaps every time it’s asked, but in those variations one would find a consistent theme and tenor. We all have our own lists — whether literal or in our minds — but even when times are tough, that list is still there for each of us. That’s what we emphasize on Thanksgiving. It’s what our ancestors celebrated hundreds of years ago in a new land, surrounded by uncertainty and struggle, but filled with gratefulness for provision and opportunity. Their reality was most certainly very different than what we know today, but we share the same American spirit that drives us to build, persevere and succeed together.

The foundation built upon Plymouth Rock so long ago has weathered countless storms and watched a people grow, develop, stumble, and get back up again better than they were before. The American story has never been without conflict or trial, but just as is the case in our individual lives, those struggles have made us the great nation and people we are. America remains a land of opportunity for those longing for liberty, and above all, we are grateful.

 Gratefulness emboldens us to do amazing things. We see it in our communities, our small businesses that begin in a garage or home and grow to employ hundreds of our neighbors. We see it in our local leaders who serve us in city councils, county commissions, police departments, fire houses, and beyond. While the year is drawing to a close, we can be proud of what has been accomplished together to this point, but there is more to do — both in Washington and here at home. One thing I know about our community is that we don’t shy away from those challenges, and I’m eager to continue moving America forward with you. I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving, and again, thank you for your continued partnership.

U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., represents the 7th Congressional District of Georgia, which includes the majority of Forsyth and Gwinnett counties, and currently serves as chairman of the Rules Subcommittee on Legislative and Budget Process, as well as serving on the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and Budget Committee.

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