I have much to be thankful for this year

Published 8:36 am Wednesday, November 26, 2014

By U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne

In many ways, Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season. With it comes all the hustle and bustle: making sure we have the right gift for our loved ones, cooking family-favorite meals, and traveling to visit old friends and family members.
Through all the pomp and circumstance, we shouldn’t forget the whole reason for the holiday: to give thanks.

Personally, this year has been full of highlights for me and my family. First, all the thanks must go to God for the countless blessings he has bestowed on us. As is written in Psalm 107:1, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good: for His mercy endureth forever.”

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

I’m thankful for my family. My wife, Rebecca, is a remarkable woman who continues to amaze me with her compassion and dedication to our family and the local community. Patrick, Kathleen, Laura, and Colin, my four children, also bring so much joy to my life. They are each incredibly successful in their line of work, but most importantly, they are great people. I am so proud of them.

I’m especially thankful for the birth of my first grandson, MacGuire. They say there is no joy quite like that of being a grandparent, and now I know exactly what that means. Just seeing MacGuire brings a smile to my face, and I am so grateful for his life and good health.

I’m thankful for my dedicated staff, who perform great work behind the scenes. My team in southwest Alabama works tirelessly every day to help our local veterans and seniors navigate cumbersome federal programs. My staff in Washington is dedicated to advancing conservative, fiscally responsible policies to make life easier for families.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to make a difference for southwest Alabama. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very challenging time for our country, but I feel blessed to be in a position to make a positive impact on behalf of the people I deeply care about and a place I am proud to call home.

I’m thankful for the men and women who have given so much in defense of the freedoms we enjoy as a nation. Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. Walter Reed is our nation’s largest medical center for military personnel, and many of the patients I met had serious injuries, including amputations and brain damage.

It was incredibly touching to be able to shake their hand and tell them how much we appreciate their service to our country. I can say with confidence that I got more out of the visit than the men and women there did.

So join me this Thanksgiving in taking time to say what you are thankful for. We each face our own challenges in our personal and professional lives, but this holiday allows us to set those challenges aside and realize our many blessings. As the playwright Thornton Wilder said, “We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne represents the 1st Congressional District of Alabama, which includes Escambia County.