While people around the world celebrate many of our other major holidays, Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. It’s a time to gather with family and friends. It’s a time to share some of our favorite foods. But most importantly, it’s a time to stop and truly reflect on all that we have to be grateful for as Americans – and for those of us lucky enough, as Virginians. And I may be a little biased, but I feel that by living in Virginia, we have an extra special list. Here are just a few of the things I am especially grateful for today.
1. Our Freedom.
Virginia has a long tradition of military service, with military bases all over the state. Some service men and women are in Virginia this Thanksgiving because they keep their watch, even on the holidays.
And then are those that call Virginia home but are serving elsewhere. Wherever our men and women in uniform are, let’s always remember to be grateful that they sacrifice time with their own families so we can have time with ours.
2. We really do have the coolest history. REALLY.
I know the Pilgrims made it popular, but Virginia is where the first Thanksgiving happened in 1619. And it wasn’t about who had the best mashed potatoes, the most well-decorated house or the best sales on Black Friday, it was about giving THANKS. Pure and simple. I’m pretty proud to come from a place that kicked things off on that note.
3. Family and Friends.
Whether you’re spending Thanksgiving with your actual family or a Friendsgiving with your chosen family, today is a good excuse to hug everyone just a little tighter and soak in every moment.
4. Family recipes that have passed down through the generations.
Whether it’s your mom’s apple pie made with Virginia apples she picked herself or your great-uncle’s rolls, made from a recipe passed down from your great-grandmother, the best Thanksgiving dinner is the one that tells a story of generations, not just brings them together.
5. Natural beauty - from cities to countrysides, mountains to shores.
A big meal is just a good excuse (disguised in gravy) to take a long walk. So take a moment today to get outside and look around you. Whatever part of Virginia you might have landed in for the day, take a moment to savor the beauty.
6. Our farmers.
Agriculture is Virginia’s largest industry by far. And our state is full of hardworking farm families, like the folks at Amy's Organic Garden in Charles City, pictured here. So let’s definitely take a moment to be grateful for the harvest that they oversee tirelessly, year after year.
7. Having food on the table.
We are fortunate to live in Virginia. While not everyone shares the same wealth, we have one of the strongest economies and lowest unemployment rates in the nation. We are fortunate to have the money that we have to put food on the table.
8. Virginia wine.
Sometimes it’s the only thing that gets us through our “blessed family gatherings.” (Loving your family and being grateful for them does not mean liking them all the time. Wine is the bridge.)
Ok, these really have nothing to do with Virginia, in particular. I’m just really grateful for them. That is all.
10. And elastic-waist pants. I am also thankful for those.
Or as I like to call them, “Thanksgiving Dinner Uniform.”
11. And now to make it personal for a second: I’m very grateful for everyone who takes the time to read Only in Virginia, share their thoughts and pass our articles along to friends.
Every day I get to do one of the coolest jobs ever. I get to bring you interesting facts, attractions, restaurants, sites and fun thoughts about our beautiful state. In turn, you all provide encouragement, inspiration and amazing ideas…and yes, even corrections when necessary. For that I am grateful. Thank you for being a part of all of the things that make Virginia such an incredible place to be!
Of course, these are only a few of the things we have to be thankful for here in Virginia. And now, we would love to hear what you are most grateful for on this very special day. Please take a moment to share your gratitude in the comments below!