In my family, as I’m sure in many of yours, Thanksgiving carries with it a number of traditions year after year. The same prayer before the same meal, the same jokes and the same stories told for decades. The traditions, like the people, are part of what makes Thanksgiving special.
Over time, though, new faces have been added around the table. My wife, Jacquie, and I have welcomed seven wonderful children to liven up the Thanksgiving holiday over the years. One by one, they have started to bring their significant others with them to dinner. This year, there will be four generations of Emmer’s together at our Thanksgiving table. I couldn’t be more grateful.
Despite the joys of gathering, this year has not been without its stresses. As American families sit down to their most expensive Thanksgiving dinner ever, rising costs across the board will stretch paychecks and make the holidays more challenging for everyone. Regardless, we still have so many reasons to be thankful. Rebounding from the unprecedented challenges brought on by COVID and drought conditions, Minnesota’s farmers and ranchers continued to provide food and ensure our shelves are stocked. Our truck drivers and freight operators are working around the clock to keep us connected and our economy moving. And in every community, small businesses remain the pillar of growth and opportunity that reminds us of life before the pandemic and keep us optimistic for what lies ahead.
We must also never forget the sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, who are the reason we are able to enjoy such a holiday. For all the old and new faces around the dinner table, there are over 1.4 million active-duty Americans who might not be able to share this holiday with their family. My sons Joe and Bill are currently serving in the Navy and Marine Corps, and Jacquie and I could not be prouder of the sacrifices they, like so many others, have chosen to make.
So, as we gather with family and friends, welcome new faces and tell old stories, please take a moment to thank our fellow Minnesotans who have kept our shelves stocked, our plates full and our country free. Everything we have, we owe to one another.
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.