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Sen. John Hoeven, Published November 26 2013

Letter: Thanks for deeds of many

In 1789, President George Washington issued a proclamation declaring Nov. 26 a day of “sincere and humble thanks.” In 1863, with the Civil War raging, President Abraham Lincoln issued a presidential proclamation setting aside the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving,” making the celebration a national holiday. Since its founding, our nation has known the importance of gratitude.

Almost 225 years after Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation, we again gather to feast, spend time with loved ones and to count the many blessings our country enjoys. While we will always face challenges, there is truly much to be grateful for in our nation and in our state.

As North Dakotans, we enjoy a tremendously high quality of life. Our state is home to thriving cities and towns where neighbors help one another and care about their community. In North Dakota, we know the value of hard work and are blessed with a growing economy and good jobs for our people. Our state is making enormous contributions to help meet our nation’s energy needs and to make our country more energy secure. Our fertile lands and hardworking farmers and ranchers provide us with the highest-quality, lowest-cost food supply in the world. These are just a few examples of our bounty.

President Theodore Roosevelt said, “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.”

North Dakotans follow this decree. After the early and unexpected blizzard this fall, many people stepped up to help ranchers who lost cattle. Ranchers have donated their own livestock to help replenish lost herds. Whenever there is a natural disaster, the people of North Dakota step up to help.

Our peace is secured and our prosperity protected by the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and their families, who show us daily what selfless service is all about. We are blessed to live with the safety and security of knowing that our armed forces are vigilantly and diligently protecting our nation and its interests.

At all times, the men and women at Grand Forks and Minot Air Force bases are on guard defending our nation and its interests. Our North Dakota National Guard members are deployed overseas and here in the United States, completing missions with dedication and skill.

Earlier this year, our congressional delegation had the opportunity to host the Grand Forks-based 1st Battalion, 188th Air Defense Artillery Regiment on Capitol Hill. These men and women are on a year-long deployment to Washington, D.C., serving as part of Operation Noble Eagle, a mission developed following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. These 200 North Dakota Guard members provide air defense 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Like all of our men and women in uniform, they are committed professionals doing a tremendous job protecting our nation. In times of peace and in times of war, North Dakotans serve our nation.

As we take time to remember our blessings this Thanksgiving, may we also show our gratitude through our actions. That’s the North Dakota way.

Hoeven, R-N.D., is North Dakota’s senior senator.