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Source: US State of Missouri

In just a few days, families and friends throughout Missouri and the United States will join together in celebration of Thanksgiving — a day that offers us the increasingly rare opportunity of taking a break from our hectic schedules to simply enjoy the company of our loved ones. We should never take for granted the many blessings we have as citizens of a free and prosperous country. Thanksgiving is the perfect reminder that the best part of life is sharing it with those we care about.

In the United States, the celebration of Thanksgiving has a long history, stemming from the time of the Founding Fathers, when various states had separate Thanksgiving holidays spread across different days. The holiday wasn’t nationally recognized until the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln, looking for ways to unite a divided county, issued a Proclamation of Thanksgiving, officially setting aside the last Thursday in November as a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” It was his hope that a national day of observance would help “to heal the wounds of the nation.” Though today we live in much more peaceful times, I think we can all still recognize the importance of coming together, as one nation, in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Sadly, our Thanksgiving this year comes as we continue to feel the wrath of a pandemic. We are hearing stories of cities across the country that have decided to put restrictions on how many people can gather at a time, and for how long. This is not something any of our communities in northwest Missouri have done, but it is something to keep in mind. My advice is to use your best judgment. If you have family members who are at-risk of getting COVID-19, it may be a good idea to shorten your time with them this year, or find another way to celebrate. Our main concern should be safety during this uncertain time.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.