Though the Thanksgiving story began long before our founding, the holiday itself started in 1863, when President Lincoln gave thanks for 'the gracious gifts of the Most High God,' first among them being freedom. He invited Americans to mark a day of Thanksgiving so that these gifts could be 'solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.'
To think that Lincoln, at the height of the Civil War, could look ahead and see a future of peace and unity - it's an inspiring reminder of how truly blessed we are.
This is certainly a time of testing for our country. A hard-fought campaign has just come to a close. Far too many Americans remain out of work. Our national debt exceeds the size of the economy and threatens to derail our children's future. As a mother of two young children, this is a constant worry, as is the cost of gas and groceries.
Yet today, we will honor the Thanksgiving tradition with wishes of peace and grace. We'll pray for those less fortunate. We'll think of servicemembers away from home, and give thanks for them and their families. Our hearts will go out to families still without power after Hurricane Sandy. We'll look ahead to the holidays and a new year.
The same spirit of service and optimism that brings us together today should inspire us all year round.
That's why, here in Washington, DC, Republicans have reached out to President Obama in the hope of working together to help our economy grow and solve the debt that threatens our children's future.
The clock is ticking. A little more than a month from now, unless Congress and the President take action, the current tax rates will expire and we will experience the largest tax increase in U.S. history. At a time of so much economic suffering, raising taxes would have a devastating impact on small businesses and our economy. We can't let this happen.
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