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As we enter a season of giving, it’s an opportunity for each of us to reflect on the blessings we’ve received over the last year. When the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621, they gave thanks to God for their safe passage to America and the bountiful harvest they had been given. Over 200 years later, President Abraham Lincoln made this celebration a national holiday. Americans from all walks of life celebrate Thanksgiving each November. It’s a time for family and friends to come together, to share a meal, and to give thanks.

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In the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, Operation Warp Speed was created as a partnership between public and private entities, leveraging federal support to speed up vaccine development. This was a major success for the Trump Administration who spearheaded the operation. Without these efforts and their leadership, the development, approval by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective, and distribution of multiple COVID-19 vaccines in record time would not have been possible. These vaccines played a large role in allowing us to safely gather with our families this Thanksgiving and for that I am truly thankful.

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The YMCA in Gothenburg is entering its fifth year as a YMCA Branch. This is only possible through the support of our 1,950 members, Gothenburg Health, Gothenburg Public Schools, and the City of Gothenburg. For that support we are very grateful.

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The State of Nebraska prioritizes helping Nebraskans lead better lives by promoting physical and mental health. This work has taken on a whole new sense of urgency during the coronavirus pandemic. Faced with the worst public health emergency in over a century, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has stepped up admirably to serve our citizens.

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There are no shortage of challenges facing Americans right now with our country reaching the highest level of inflation in three decades, a lack of workers to fill job openings nationwide, record illegal entry and smuggling at our southern border, and a supply chain unable to keep up with the demands of manufacturers and consumers. Despite facing these crises every day, we still have much to be thankful for as Americans. This year has brought new job opportunities for those in search of work, our schools are open again nationwide, and we are striving to resume our pre-coronavirus lives. It is very unfortunate the last action Democrats chose to take in the House of Representatives before Thanksgiving was passing their massive social spending package which will make these crises worse.

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In September 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England, bound for the New World. The ship’s 102 passengers and 30 crew members – an eclectic mix of religious families fleeing persecution and single men seeking to become landowners on a new continent – had one thing in common: They hoped that better lives were waiting for them at the other end of the sea.

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Each year on November 11th, our nation comes together to celebrate the men and women who defend our freedoms. The 11th of November was originally known as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I which occurred at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. In 1954, Congress expanded this day to recognize not only those who fought during World War I, but to commemorate all United States veterans.

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Nebraskans often talk about how we feed the world. It’s true now more than ever. The crops and livestock we grow and the goods we make reach far-flung places across the globe. Diners in Japan, drivers in Germany, and farmers in Africa all benefit from the products we make and grow. Our international relationships are having a big impact. Over the past decade, Nebraska exports have totaled almost $10 billion per year. Continuing to grow international trade will create more great-paying jobs to keep our kids and grandkids in Nebraska and attract more people here to our state.

Packing the Court

This fall, the United States Supreme Court has been receiving quite a bit of attention. With ongoing litigation ranging from the Texas law limiting when abortions may be performed, to vaccine mandates, to second amendment rights, a spotlight is currently focused on the court. With so many high-profile cases and the public discussion around them, this recent attention has launched another critical debate into the limelight - court packing.

Service and Sacrifice

It would be hard to overstate the relief Americans felt in 1918 when they heard the “war to end all wars” was over. World War I, the deadliest conflict in history to that point, had ended.

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