Legislative column

Thanksgiving is a time when families and friends come together to share a meal and give thanks for the blessings they have been given. One day a year is specifically set aside to be grateful, but I think we can look at every day and give thanks for all we have.

Too often we get caught up in the minor inconveniences in life that in the long run, just aren’t important. Minor frustrations happen every day, and can still be looked at as blessings in disguise. Sometimes the lines for coffee are too long, or traffic is taking longer than we’d like, or we can’t connect to good Wi-Fi on our phones or any number of small annoyances that happen in everyday life. That’s not really what matters in the big picture, is it?

If you were lucky enough to be born and raised in America, especially in Missouri, you are off to a better start than most and have much for which to be thankful. We live in a country that has so many advantages over others, and starting life as an American citizen, hopefully with good parents and a belief in God, gives you a leg up on those less fortunate.

America was founded on the idea of freedom. Freedom of expression, freedom to practice religion, freedom of speech and many other inherent rights are what we, as United States citizens, are entitled to by law. There are many countries that still do not offer these freedoms to their citizens, even in 2016, and I ask you to keep those countries and their citizens in your thoughts and prayers.

We are able to enjoy the freedoms set forth by our constitution because of the men and women who fought and continue to fight for them. Our armed services, made up entirely of volunteers, keeps this country free and safe. It is important to remember the freedoms and liberties we sometimes take for granted come at a high price to the soldiers that protect us and their families.

As we gather next week to celebrate Thanksgiving, please do not lose sight of the big picture. Don’t sweat the small stuff, and try to be grateful for the minor inconveniences in life. Our problems are small in comparison to many throughout the world. We are so very blessed to live in this community and to have those we hold near and dear on this day of Thanksgiving.

Mike Cunningham is a Republican member of the Missouri State Senate, representing District 33. Contact him at 573-751-1882 or www.senate.mo.gov/cunningham

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