Posted on April 08, 2017

Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite holiday of the year. After all what’s not to like about a holiday revolved around family, friends, food and football?

But to be serious for a moment, I’d like to share some observations that are especially pertinent to this time of year.

One of the great things about Thanksgiving is that it pushes the pause button on our busy lives to permit reflection on the many things for which we have to be thankful. Although we are living in complex, even tumultuous times, it is important to remember that we are indeed blessed. We live in a country that strives to create “a more perfect union.” This is no easy task, and the process can sometimes be messy, uncertain and troubling. Yet the fact remains that the “grand experiment” that is the United States is unique to world history, and continues to serve as a beacon of hope for many parts of the world.

To be sure, there are far too many of our citizens that do not fully enjoy the many benefits that our society produces. Too many people—including people in our own communities—do not have access to quality medical care, food, shelter, and educational opportunities. So for those of us who are giving thanks in the comfortable embrace of family and friends, I urge us all to remember that there are those among us who are less fortunate.

Perhaps each of us can take a moment, in that context, to reach out. We’ve seen many examples of Spartans in recent weeks doing just that, such as the Stop Hunger Now meals packaging service project and the Empty Bowls hunger-awareness event on campus. The current Angel Tree project will make the holidays brighter for some Spartans in need and their families. Many of us have supported our university’s SECC donation drive, which will help charities throughout our city and state. Let’s take a moment to not only be thankful for what we have, but also to embrace the opportunity to share our good fortune and blessings with those around us who could use our collective helping hands. We all have a shared fate.

On a personal note, Jacquie and I would like to thank all of the people who have welcomed us into the UNCG community and the greater Greensboro community. Your grace and generosity lift our spirits and remind us every day that there is much that is right about our world and our future.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Frank Gilliam