Thanksgiving is a time of family, friends, and neighbors sharing around a table holding the harvest that we have worked for this year.

It is festive for those who enjoy being together to gather for the particular rituals, celebrations, and remembrances that make one gathering unique from another gathering. And they are all special, every one of them, up and down the block, around town, out in the country, and across the country.

In 1621, after their first harvest, the Pilgrims met with the Wampanoag tribe for a feast; today we honor that meeting with this annual custom of a day of Thanksgiving.

One of my customs on Thanksgiving Day, along with Veterans Day, is to take time to consider the gifts and blessings I have received by being an American, and the privilege I have had in serving this country as a soldier.

And because I believe human experience can be influenced positively, I also take time to measure my actions to my goals of how I participate in community.

These goals are advocacy for literacy and education, free speech and free press; understanding diverse perspectives, and respecting the worth and dignity of all persons; engaging with writers and artists to promote the literary, performance and visual arts as vital and meaningful expressions of the human spirit.

Reading is a passion, and I am thankful for the existence of books, and libraries, which have given me an education, and a means of exploring the world.

Since I have moved back to Texas, the Harker Heights Public Library has been a place where I have discussed books, authors, and writing; and met people dedicated to building and sustaining a library of merit in Harker Heights.

I am thankful they share their talents and energies to benefit the community. They have inspired me to further join my efforts with others, to share a little more of my talent and energy.

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