Politics & Policy

Giving Thanks

Celebrating Thanksgiving with a speaker, a governor, a TV-show host, and more.

’Tis the season to be grateful. Here we have messages of thanks from some friends and family — some you’ll know and some you’ll be grateful to meet. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at National Review Online.


What a beautiful thing it is to live in a country where people of all faiths and backgrounds pause each year to give thanks and count the blessings we have received. The love of family, the comfort of home, and the reach of faith will be on my mind as I bow my head, offer humble thanks to God, and pray that He will continue to watch over this land we love.

Though we appreciate all we have to be thankful for, we are not as easily moved to rejoice when too many of our fellow citizens are out of work and in need. We can be grateful for the kindness and compassion of all who lend a hand to those less fortunate. We are also thankful for our entrepreneurs and small-business owners, whose spirit and determination strengthen our communities.

Of course, the promise of freedom and opportunity is preserved by the sacrifices of our brave sons and daughters in Iraq and Afghanistan, and around the world. That’s why we reserve our deepest gratitude for our heroes in uniform and their families.

John Boehner is speaker-designate of the House of Representatives.


Three years ago, on Thanksgiving morning 2007, I flew with almost 800 other soldiers from the 2d Squadron, 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, to Forward Operating Base Caldwell in Diyala Province, Iraq, to start our battle with al-Qaeda. By God’s providence, on that very same day the little girl who was to become my adopted daughter was born in a tiny village in southern Ethiopia.

When we landed in Iraq, one of our troop commanders, no doubt sensing my fear and doubt, put his arm around me and said, “Lawyer, if you live through this, it will be the most important year of your life.” In many ways, he was right.

On this Thanksgiving, I’m thankful for the band of brothers I served with, for the lives and courage of the men who gave all they could give, and for Naomi, our precious daughter, who is celebrating her third birthday in this world and her first in America.

David French is senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund’s Center for Academic Freedom.


Look at the world around us: the looming collapse of the EU; the lack of freedom in China, Russia, and much of the Middle East; the endemic poverty of Africa; the resurgence of drug cartels and destructive socialism in Latin America; the failed state of Mexico.

We all must pause this Thanksgiving and thank our creator that we live in a free and prosperous America, one that in recession and political turmoil remains an oasis compared to these bleak alternatives abroad.

On this holiday, we must reflect, and often so, how much our forefathers sacrificed for our present security, freedom, and prosperity — and how much responsibility rests on our shoulders to preserve and pass on something even better than the great good that we were bequeathed.

Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and a recipient of the 2007 National Humanities Medal.


Last week, I had a bunch of extra speeches to give on top of my TV-anchoring responsibilities, and then, on top of that, I had to fly out to Salt Lake City to interview former president George W. Bush about his book. I was tired, cranky, and kind of in a bad mood. And then I thought: Hold on, pal. Wait just one minute.

I am thankful for the work. Grateful that people will trust me to do my job and show up on time. God’s hand is in this, and I have nothing but gratitude for His power and His guidance. Fifteen years ago, I was unemployable. I am grateful today to be sober and clean.

And I am grateful for my beautiful and saintly wife of 23 years, and for my new little puppy dog. It sounds corny, but I see them as a God wife and a God puppy. More gratitude.

Though I was dead tired, I showed up for the Saturday radio show and made it to usher noon mass at church on Sunday — more gratitude. Our pastor gave a homily about Jesus, and at the end he said, “Follow Him.” More gratitude, for that thought.

I am grateful for this great country of ours. And, putting politics aside, I am thankful there is at least some improvement in the economy, so that more people are working and we all have more opportunity.

Then again, I am also grateful for the recent elections, as we celebrate our democracy and a shift toward the free market.

Larry Kudlow, NRO’s economics editor, is host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report and author of the daily weblog Kudlow’s Money Politic$.


I’m grateful I’m not in charge. I’m grateful my days are full of wonderful surprises, mysteries, and people (some of whom are surprises and mysteries!). I’m grateful there’s truth and love in the world, and that so many continue to try to live in them in pursuit of real happiness.

Thank you, every American serving abroad today. Thank you, every family that has made sacrifices for the rest of us. Thank you, everyone who has sacrificed for service, from the clergy and military clergy to the men and women who save people’s lives. Thank you to those who are moms and dads — and those who are moms and dads where moms and dads aren’t or couldn’t be.

We’re a blessed people. And thanks be to God that it does not always go unnoticed!

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is an editor-at-large of National Review Online.


I am grateful for businessmen, those busy strivers who, in order to bring a product or service into existence, have the guts to risk humiliating rejection by consumers or crushing failure in the intricate world of supply chains.

Behind every screw, filament, and fiber that composes the dizzying luxury of the modern world lies some unknown entrepreneur who actually managed to persuade potentially fractious, lazy employees to work together for a common goal. Profit is the least that businessmen deserve; they deserve gratitude — and not preening contempt from grandstanding politicians and establishment bohemians.

Heather Mac Donald is a contributing editor to the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.


It would be nice to say something clever, or at least different. The truth, alas, is that the older I get, the more my thanks tend to reflect the old stand-bys: the happy home that my wife and our three beautiful daughters keep warm with their love; the ability to sleep peacefully each night because good men risk their lives to defend us; the comfort of good friends and family who care; and the joy of knowing my Redeemer liveth.

On paper, they sound trite; known, felt, and lived, they are life itself. In other words, when it comes your turn around the table to say what you are thankful for, the best thing may be to have the wit to know just how lucky others — starting with those around the table — have made you.

— William McGurn is a vice president at News Corporation who writes speeches for CEO Rupert Murdoch. Previously he served as chief speechwriter for Pres. George W. Bush.


I am giving thanks for so much this Thanksgiving. I’m grateful that we enjoy the “blessings of liberty” secured by our Constitution. I’m grateful for the protection of America’s finest, our men and women in uniform — many of whom will spend Thanksgiving far from their loved ones so that we might celebrate with our families in peace and security.

I’m grateful that America’s children can look forward to a hopeful future because their mothers and fathers will make the sacrifices generations of American parents have made to safeguard freedom and opportunity.

I’m grateful that our land is rich in resources — all that we need to sustain ourselves and secure our prosperity.

I’m grateful that all Americans have the equal opportunity to earn, contribute, create, produce, perform, and succeed by our own merits and through the application of a sincere work ethic. I’m grateful for the ingenuity, innovation, and optimism that still animate the American spirit.

Most of all, I’m grateful that the steadying hand of Providence that guided the Pilgrims to Plymouth Rock continues to guide us toward a better future.

Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and Republican vice-presidential nominee, is author of the new book, America by Heart.


Every Thanksgiving, Americans give thanks to God for all the blessings we have. And there are no people in the world who should be more grateful than the American people.

What we’ve had for over 200 years is unparalleled in human history — a free and prosperous society where generation after generation has been able to leave the next better off.

We’re thankful for the blessings of our country, and we’re also cognizant of the responsibilities that come with those blessings. On this Thanksgiving holiday, let’s take a moment to remember how special a country we share, how exceptional it is in human history, and how important it is that we secure its blessings for the next generation of Americans.

My wife Jeanette and I are also thankful for the friendship and support we’ve been blessed with. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to travel throughout Florida for the better part of the past two years, meeting many extraordinary people and hearing many inspirational stories about the talent, drive, and hard work that make our state and country special.

From my family to yours, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving.

Marco Rubio is a U.S. senatorelect from Florida.

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