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Posted by: Jane

It amazes me each year how quickly this holiday rolls around—how much it seems like I *just* sent what's become my usual Thanksgiving note. And I guess, for me, that underscores how easy it is to get caught up in the routine and forget to acknowledge the people who have made a difference in my life—and how important it is for me to send this note year after year, despite how bored you might be with receiving it.

As I was thinking about what to be grateful for this year (while on my way home last night, which is when I usually have my best ideas ... if you don't count when I'm brushing my teeth, that is), a car passed me in the opposite lane, proudly flying two American flags on either side of its hood. Two things came to mind: First, in this time of war in Iraq, we all have our own ideas about what those flags mean—and occasionally (or often) argue with each other over which idea is "right." Patriotism? Paternalism? Love of country? Criticism of country?

I don't pretend to know which, if any, of these is "right;" I have my own opinion, of course, but that's likely not worth much, nor is it the real point. The point is that despite our opinions, we live in a country where it's possible, and acceptable, to express them. Sometimes I think about what it would be like if that weren't
the case, and I realize how thankful I am to have that freedom. Second, despite what our opinions are about the war, there are thousands of American citizens away from their families this holiday season for no
reason other than they were asked to serve. I'm thankful to their families for lending them to the rest of us, and thankful to the soldiers themselves for being willing to do something I never would.

Wishing you all another wonderful day on Thursday, filled with plenty of
food, family, football (of course!), and your own special reasons to be

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