Two Holidays Give Us Chance To Show Gratitude - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Two Holidays Give Us Chance To Show Gratitude

November 6th, 2018 SanTan Sun News
Two Holidays Give Us Chance To Show Gratitude

By Rabbi Irwin Wiener

Guest Writer

November is truly a remarkable time of the year. Remarkable because we celebrate and commemorate two important events established to remind us of the gratitude we owe to so many. One is Veterans Day and the other is Thanksgiving. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that both of these milestones in the life of our nation fall during the same time of the year, and in the very same month. For example, Veterans Day was established to remind us of the sacrifices made during World War l. For it was on the 11th hour of the 11th month in 1918 that an end to the tragic episode known as “the war to end all wars” was celebrated. Over the years the meaning remained, but the name changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. Thanksgiving, on the other hand, was established to remind us that through hardship and adversity we pause to remember the One who gave us the opportunity to be free and express that gratitude with a moment dedicated to expressing appreciation for all the blessings afforded us as we continue life’s journey. We wonder about miracles without realizing that there are so many: the birth of a child, the grandeur of space, the warmth of a smile and the tenderness of a caress. These are the miracles of life and yet we take them for granted. Do we take the time to allow ourselves the luxury of stepping back to marvel at all that is in front of us? Yet, there are so many more miracles we encounter: living in a country that enables us to appreciate the goodness that is found in the human spirit. We live in a land that enhances our ability to explore our imagination for creative purposes. We have been taught that generosity is an obligation that needs to be constantly nourished so that many can drink from this fountain of sharing. Many times we lose sight of our responsibilities, but then we are reminded with a holiday called Thanksgiving. And then there are those who answer the call to unite and contribute to the welfare of all by serving this great country in ways that, at times, boggle the imagination. Time after time we are reminded of valor and fortitude and sacrifice. We witness destruction, but also rebuilding. We watch as some gather to offer comfort and solace to those caught in the despair that seems so unimaginable and frightening. Our history as a nation is replete with stories of victory and defeat. We lose loved ones, but we offer their memories to eternity. We mark the place they once stood so that their offering will be remembered as well as remind us of our obligation to give meaning to their lives. As we gather together to witness a parade, or attend a memorial service, or feast on turkey, let us retell the stories of how we accomplished so much so that we can continue to dream of the future. Perhaps we should clasp our hands in prayer in the hopes that Almighty God will continue to bless our efforts on behalf of all who cry out for salvation and redemption. Veterans Day and Thanksgiving should remind us not to waste our time on the unimportant things but rather concentrate on the positive aspects of all that God offers: the wonderfulness of life, the magic of each day, and the ability to remember the value and purpose for which we were created.

Rabbi Dr. Irwin Wiener, D.D is National Chaplain of Jewish War Veterans-USA and he is spiritual leader of the Sun Lakes Jewish Congregation.