This holiday was marked to remind us to pause with family, friends and neighbors to give thanks for all that we have. Every day we worry about issues that affect us personally as well as those facing our nation such as economic uncertainty, irresponsible government spending, and our soldiers overseas. I know it can be difficult, but let's lay the newspaper headlines aside for a moment and remember all the ways in which we are very fortunate. Now is the time of year to turn our attention to the positive things in our lives and to challenge ourselves to make a difference in someone else's life.
This fall, we spoke about the founding of our nation and the vision our Founding Fathers had for our country. Their declaration of Thanksgiving was just a small part of their vision for this nation. This holiday has been observed since the founding of our country with our first Presidents issuing Thanksgiving proclamations each year of their tenures in office. In 1789, President George Washington declared the First National Day of Thanksgiving and Public Prayer saying:
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness." Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.
As we celebrate Thanksgiving with our family and friends this Thursday, pause for a moment to think of what you are thankful for. I am thankful for you, my constituents, who are thoughtful and engaged in where our state is today and in the prosperity ahead of us. I am blessed that you have chosen to put me in a position to be your voice--not simply a "yes" or "no" vote at the State Capitol. I am thankful for my family who continues to support and encourage me as a husband, a father, and as a senator. I am thankful for my government and my country. I may not always agree with the decisions made in Washington, or even under the Gold Dome in Atlanta, but I am still confident that we live in the greatest nation in the world-a nation conceived by the eminent wisdom of our Founding Fathers. They gave us freedom and demanded personal responsibly to uphold their ideals and build their nation. They gave us a code to live by and a humble spirit, filled with prayer, to guide us. We have been given a gift of freedom that brave men and women have cultivated with courage and determination. I am thankful for every American who has sacrificed and given their all so that our nation may remain the greatest nation on earth. What are you thankful for during this season of thanks?
This season of thanks reminds us that true riches come from the love and support of friends and family, a strong faith, and the honor and privilege it is to be an American and a Georgian. Remember those brave men and women who are away from their families this Thanksgiving fighting overseas to ensure our country is safe. Practice compassionate conservatism and good stewardship by helping those less fortunate through contributions to food banks, volunteering at a soup kitchen and by praying for their assistance. We should also remember to be thankful that we live in a nation of democracy where we can voice our opinions and choose our leaders. These wonderful blessings are things we can all be thankful for this year.
As the holidays approach, so does a very important time for every citizen of Georgia. The Georgia General Assembly begins its next Legislative Session on January 9th, 2012, when lawmakers will continue to work to find solutions to the challenges facing our state. The work we do at the state level affects the every day lives of its citizens, from balancing the budget and shrinking unemployment to improving transportation and ensuring excellence in public education.
I would like to thank my constituents in the 31st Senate District for supporting me. I look forward to serving you throughout the year and during the coming legislative session.