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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs

Remarks by Secretary Eric K. Shinseki

Message from the Secretary - Thanksgiving 2011
Washington, DC
November 22, 2011

A Thanksgiving Day Message from the Secretary

Thanksgiving is an American tradition that predates the U.S. Constitution by more than 100 years. It is an observance that binds us as Americans no matter our race, religion, or culture. It is a time when we reflect on our many blessings and give thanks for the bounty in our lives.

As individuals, we are thankful for our families, friends, and loved ones. As a Nation, we celebrate the blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, thanks to the men and women who protect and have protected our way of life. We thank them for their service and their sacrifice, and we wish them and their families a blessed Thanksgiving celebration.

In celebrating Thanksgiving this year, let us remember a Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. One hundred and two colonists were facing a harsh winter and possible starvation. Some would die. Fortunately, Indians of the Wampanoag tribe extended a friendly hand that ensured the colonists survived their first winter in this new land, securing unto themselves the blessings of beginning a new Nation dedicated to the dignity and equality of all who live on this land.

It is a difficult time in this country. Yet, we all have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. We are strong as individuals, as families, and as a community.

To all the members of the Department of Veterans Affairs, your families, and our Veterans and their families, I wish you the warmest of Thanksgiving wishes, and thank you all for this wonderful country we share. Happy Thanksgiving!

Eric K. Shinseki