Commentary: There is much for which we should be thankful

People are out of work. Homes have been lost to foreclosure. Investments have soured and savings have been depleted. Businesses have gone under. Government services have been cut. The country is at war, with no victory in sight.

What in the world do we have to celebrate on this Thanksgiving Day?

Many among us might be wondering that very thing today, in these times of tremendous turmoil and trouble.

But many before us have wondered as well -- and have discovered that despite the difficulties and despair of the moment there was, and is today, much for which to be thankful.

We may feel as if no one has ever experienced what we're going through today. But they have, and in many cases, our present predicaments pale in comparison to the suffering others have endured. Yet history tells us that in the darkest of days, Americans have always managed to see the brightest of blessings.

And so should we.

It started with the Pilgrims, those brave men and women who crowded onto tiny ships and crossed the ocean to start a new life in a new land. And it wasn't easy; many of them died of plague and pestilence and the toll of back-breaking work, inadequate food and shelter and brutal winters. And yet, in 1623 -- three long, hard years after setting foot on Plymouth Rock -- they gathered to thank "ye Almighty God for all His blessings."

Thanksgiving scenes like that would be repeated over and over in the ensuing years, decades and centuries. And as these excerpts of proclamations of the past show us, a time of thanksgiving would be held even as individuals and the nation faced various tests, trials and even tragedies.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Fresno Bee.