Giving thanks for our veterans and the freedoms they defend

Column by Bob Goodlatte  

On Nov. 9, 1989 the world watched as a wall in Berlin, Germany crumbled to the ground in one of the greatest triumphs of freedom in history. Twenty years later, we mark the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the victory of freedom over communist oppression.

It is fitting that while we observe this anniversary of the spread of democracy and freedom that we also pay tribute to our nation’s veterans, many of whom served in Berlin and other parts of Germany. America was founded on the principles of liberty, opportunity and justice for all, and we recognize the men and women of our armed forces who have valiantly defended these values throughout our nation’s history. 

Our fallen heroes gave their lives so that we may continue to enjoy the benefits of a free and great democracy. And it is in their memory and names that we must commit to ourselves that we will never forget their sacrifices, that we will not allow their blood to have been shed in vain and that we will, every day, act in accordance with those principles that they fought for. We must always honor those who have made our nation great, strong, and most importantly – free.

While it is virtually impossible for us to sufficiently convey our national gratitude to those who have worn the uniform of this great nation, I humbly ask you to join me in thanking these true patriots and the countless brave Americans who have sacrificed their lives for this country. It is through their sacrifice that our nation remains the land of the free.

In 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be observed on the last Thursday of November. Lincoln believed that prosperity and freedom were God’s gift and should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by all the American people.

As you gather with loved ones this week to celebrate Thanksgiving, I urge you to remember that as a nation, we have many reasons to give thanks. When President John F. Kennedy visited a divided Berlin in 1963 he offered encouragement and hope to the Germans. Referring to America, he stated “Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us.” We are blessed to live in a country where we enjoy the gift of freedom.

This year, on Thanksgiving Day, I hope that you will join me in giving thanks for this wonderful democracy in which we live – the land of the free, and the home of the brave. God bless you all, and from my family to yours – Happy Thanksgiving.


Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District of Virginia in the United States House of Representatives.


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