The Kearney Hub extends its best wishes to all of our readers and supporters. We hope everyone can spend time during this special holiday with family and friends to enjoy a meal, and, to remember the many blessings we enjoy as Americans and as Nebraskans.

As residents of the Cornhusker State, we occupy a very special place. Living smack in the middle of our great nation, we’re always a bit behind. Nebraskans seldom launch trends, but living in the middle has its perks. We know that being a step or two behind can be a good thing.

For example, we Nebraskans exhibit a special spirit. We’re self-sufficient and independent individuals, but we maintain a solid grasp on old-fashioned ideals. Our families come first. We look out for our neighbors. The pace of our lives might seem a bit fast, but we are never so rushed that there’s no time for common courtesies or helping a neighbor. Holding the door for a senior citizen, yielding the right-of-way at a stop sign, or volunteering in the community all are important here in Nebraska.

It has been a tough year in our state. We know that our farmers have weathered crazy storms and unfavorable governmental policies. Heavy rain and flooding, tariffs and lost trade opportunities, and continuing high property taxes take a toll here in farm country.

Looking around, we know our rural neighbors are struggling, but we want them to know we’re thankful to live in a place like Nebraska. The never-say-die attitude of our farming and ranching friends is inspiring and makes us all better. We know few people who work harder, show so much respect for the environment, and who contribute as much to our economy as our farmers and ranchers.

The crazy weather that’s plagued rural residents also has plagued Nebraskans in many towns and cities. Flooding in March and July ravaged our communities. It’s been a long, hard struggle working our way back to normal. For some places in our state, things never will be the same, but the flooding has not dampened our Nebraska spirit. In fact, the disasters were opportunities to help family, neighbors and friends to clean up and rebuild. Many Nebraskans dug deep and gave generously, knowing the flooding was especially devastating to people lacking financial resources to rebound.

Recalling the original Thanksgiving in 1621, we know it was a humble celebration, compared to the richness that will be spread across our tables this year. But we also know the food was only a partial reason to give thanks. To the pilgrims who had risked so much to flee oppression in their homeland, a better reason to celebrate was the freedom to live as they wished in the new land.

Let’s never take for granted the freedom, safety and peace we enjoy here in the United States, and especially in Nebraska. This year as we count our blessings, let’s give thanks for the good life we share in our very special state.

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