As we all know, the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. I love this time of year. I love getting together with friends and family and overeating all the wonderful food and desserts. I love the memories that I have of Thanksgiving holidays gone by, and I love being able to make good memories for my kids.

And when you stop and think about it, Thanksgiving is about remembering. For me, I try to take some time and remember all the ways that God has blessed me. I grew up in a good home with great parents and three great siblings. (One brother, two sisters.) I have an amazing wife (Brooke) and five wonderful children. (Jeremiah, Isaac, Gideon, Levi, and Lilly) I have always been able to work to provide for my family, and I truly enjoy being able to represent the people of Missouri’s fifteenth senate district.

God has truly been good to me. But not just me. God has been good to the United States of America. America is so strong and so powerful that it seems almost impossible to remember that we have not always been that way. There was a time when the idea of a free, powerful nation seemed too impossible to imagine.

When the pilgrims came to America they had no notion of any freedom beyond religious freedom. When they made the treacherous journey to the new world their plan was to be a cooperative commune. Everyone was to work together to make sure that everyone had what they needed. No one was allowed to own property. No one was allowed to earn for their own good. The Native People had helped them learn to survive, but no one was able to thrive in that environment.

It was then that newly elected Governor of the Colony, William Bradford, proposed a bold idea. Allow people to own property and work to earn for themselves in whatever capacity they desired. This allowed the Colony to go from barely able to survive, to an overabundance of what they required. Capitalism was born, and more than two hundred years later, it still works.

I am so thankful for the events that surrounded the first Thanksgiving holiday, because it laid the framework for great nation that we have today. The settlers learned that if religious and economic freedom are allowed, society will thrive.

I am thankful for so many things, but most of all for my faith, my family, and my freedom.

God bless all of you, and Happy Thanksgiving!