On behalf of The Highland County Press staff, independent contractors and contributing writers, please accept our best wishes for a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.

To our many readers in Highland, Adams, Brown, Clinton, Fayette, Pike and Ross counties, we are grateful that you welcome our print edition into your homes each week.

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In his Thanksgiving column this week, HCP columnist Robert Hottle writes: "Guidelines of thanksgiving teach us to be more content in what we already have and not so much the things that will one day evaporate. We can then concentrate on making differences in the lives of others as we allow our thankfulness to be known.

"This Thanksgiving season should be one of 365 days each year. It is so important that it be focused upon eternal truth and not just upon earthly things. May we grow in that kind of a heart which we will gladly present to the Lord the day we come before Him face to face."

I thought Bob's words were worth repeating. They remind me of a phone call this morning from my dear friend and occasional legal eagle Tom Tepe.

Tom has a way of reminding me to focus on the important things and not so much the day-to-day trivial nonsense of politics and other nonsense. He often says that keeping your head down and your eye on the ball aren't just good rules for hitting a baseball (or a golf ball), but good rules for life.

Tom reminded me on this Thanksgiving Eve to appreciate the important stuff. Many of us are more blessed than we realize. Healthy and happy family and friends are far more important than a six-car garage or a beach house in Captiva. Thanks, Tom, for all your words of wisdom through the years. (Pet Bob the dog for me.)

Thanksgiving also is a good time to pause and remember all the members of the United States Armed Forces, especially those stationed away from home during the holidays.

A story by Kathy Warnes, "Americans and Britons celebrated Thanksgiving 1942 in war-weathered England, is worth sharing.

Warnes writes about that World War II Thanksgiving: "A story appeared in the Stars and Stripes on Nov. 23, 1942, announcing that Thanksgiving services would be held for American soldiers in the British Isles wherever they were stationed. Quiet parish churches and vaulted abbeys with precision acoustics scheduled services. Social workers and soldiers planned afternoon parties so that orphaned British children could join in the Thanksgiving. Dinners were planned in isolated camps and service clubs and many British cities and communities hosted American soldiers.

"Westminster Cathedral and the new West End Synagogue scheduled services for Catholics and Jews. Since Westminster Cathedral stood close to the Houses of parliament and the transportation center of Victoria, the Germans included it on their list of Luftwaffe targets. The cathedral and the buildings surrounding it suffered extensive fire and bomb damage, but it survived. Services at the West End Synagogue revolved around bomb damage. The Germans had bombed the West End Synagogue on Oct. 12, 1940 – Yom Kippur – and bomb blasts damaged the stained glass in the east rose window. On that same day, Germany abandoned plans to invade England."

One can only imagine our European ally encouraging her citizens to welcome American troops into their homes and churches to celebrate Thanksgiving – shortly after the Nazi blitzkrieg that left 60,000 people killed, more than 87,000 seriously injured and 2 million homes destroyed.

Oh, yes, there was one other thing, Warnes writes: "Since 1940, the British government had rationed food including eggs, fruits, vegetables, bread and potatoes. By Thanksgiving 1942, Britons were grateful to Americans for Bundles for Britain, the British War Relief in America, the Red Cross and other aid from communities and individuals." (See https://historybecauseitshere.weebly.com/americans-and-britons-celebrated-thanksgiving-1942-in-war-weathered-england.html.)

Because of the efforts of American troops in World War II – and before and after that war – we are free today in the United States to celebrate Thanksgiving as we please.

As always, I look forward to seeing family and friends this week. There will be too much food and too little time. But we will share old memories, maybe make a few new ones, and be happy for time together. As we get older, I think it's the time together that really matters.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone. And thanks for reading.

Rory Ryan is publisher and owner of The Highland County Press.