Thanksgiving: An American Tradition

A Column from the Desk of Assemblyman Karl Brabenec (R,C-Deerpark)

Because the holiday is later in the week, you’d think I’d want to save my thoughts on this year’s Thanksgiving for next week as a wrap-up to what we’ve enjoyed. But the Brabenecs have long enjoyed lively and exciting Thanksgivings in our family, and I’m so excited to share another one with my loved ones. Holidays like Christmas and Halloween might dominate department store sales extravaganzas and fill our commercials to the brim with deals, but there isn’t a holiday that speaks more to the spirit of American generosity, or the soul of her people, than Thanksgiving does—besides, perhaps, Independence Day.

Thanksgiving is more than just a holiday centered around a sumptuous feast; it’s a time of year that does immeasurable good for people and communities across the U.S. This cherished holiday carries with it a tradition of gratitude, togetherness and service that enriches our lives in countless ways.

One of the most remarkable aspects of Thanksgiving is its power to bring people together. Families and friends gather around the table, often traveling long distances, to share a meal and express their thanks. It’s certainly one of my favorite parts of the holiday; this simple act of coming together reinforces the bonds that connect us, fostering a sense of unity and belonging that transcends the daily grind and brings warmth to our hearts. It’s a reminder that in the hustle and bustle of modern life, taking the time to be with loved ones is invaluable.

Thanksgiving also serves as a reminder of the importance of gratitude. In a world where it’s all too easy to focus on what we lack or what we aspire to achieve, this holiday encourages us to pause and reflect on the blessings we already have. We tend to fixate on material things, general wealth or experiences to monetize; Thanksgiving is a time I really enjoy to recenter myself with the true wealth of the world: family, love and togetherness.

This holiday also has a powerful impact on communities. It often involves collective efforts to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need. Many volunteers at local food banks or shelters, especially in our own Orange and Rockland counties, help ensure everyone can partake in the spirit of the holiday. This outreach not only provides a warm meal but also fosters a sense of solidarity within communities, reminding us of our duty to care for our neighbors and those less fortunate.

In short, Thanksgiving is a holiday that elevates the human spirit. It reminds us to be grateful, to prioritize our loved ones and to reach out to those in need. It’s a day when we put aside our worries, extend a helping hand and fill our hearts with the warmth of togetherness. As the holiday season approaches, I hope you all find peace of mind through the warmth and comfort of those around you.