By George H. W. Bush
November 24, 2014

Why am I thankful? It may be impossible to count the ways.

For our large, and wonderful, and loving family I am especially thankful. Family is what sustains you through both triumph and tribulation, and no one has ever been blessed with a more supportive and stronger family than your author here. From my bride of nearly 70 years, to our caring and giving children and grandchildren, and now to our four great-grandchildren (with another one on the way!) my cup truly runneth over.

I am deeply thankful too for having been born in the greatest, and freest, nation on earth – the United States of America. At this special time of year, it is fitting to pause and reflect on the many rights and opportunities we have as American citizens to pursue happiness to the fullest extent of our God-given talents. Not only that, but I continue to marvel at the neighbor-helping-neighbor spirit of our people — something I call being a “Point of Light.” I am convinced no other country quite matches the American propensity to help their fellow citizens as well as those in need around our world. Truly inspiring are they.

Let me add: I’m thankful not only for every man and woman who wears our nation’s uniform to defend our liberties and cherished way of life, but also their families who help bear this necessary burden. They do so not for fame or fortune, but for love of country. Each of them in their own ways exemplifies that timeless creed “duty, honor, country” that has sustained us these past 238 years. Barbara and I give thanks for their selfless service every single night.

For these blessings, for the many opportunities we had to serve our country, for parachutes that work, and for so many friends who make life sing, I am truly thankful — always have been, and always will be.

George H. W. Bush is the 41st President of the United States.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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