Recently I recorded a series on the History Channel about the history of America. Each one hour program highlighted a specific time in this nation's life, from the early settlers to modern days. We had hours of television to watch with this series, and a week ago we were home on Sunday so we watched a good portion of it. The most striking thing I came away with after seeing so much of our history unfold before me was how tenacious our ancestors were. We've always known they were unusual people who were committed to the path they chose, but learning about what their contributions really meant to the world and to us was humbling to say the least. They were pioneers in ever sense of the word, strong men and women who were fiercely independent and totally determined to be in charge of their own futures as well as to make a better future for their children and grandchildren. I thought about my ancestors - Civil War veterans, early settlers who came for religious freedom, hard working blue collar people who worked hard to create a place for me to some day enjoy in a way that is unprecedented in the rest of the world. I am in awe of them all.
Life is good for us here in 21st century America. We are the recipients of their gifts and we need to appreciate them. We know unbelievable freedom, unprecedented wealth, and we live in an amazing place, walking a path made easy by their hard work. The only way to fully thank them is to be good stewards of their gift, and to be significantly grateful. And I am.