Senator Kent Williams On Thanksgiving

Appropriately, Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks – other than just for the delicious food that may be set before us.

“As we come together with friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate, let us set aside our daily concerns and give thanks for the providence bestowed upon us,” President Barack Obama stated in his proclamation declaring Nov. 24, 2011 as a National Day of Thanksgiving.

Our nation’s Thanksgiving tradition can be traced back to the early settlers of the Plymouth colony. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln first proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November. The official observance of Thanksgiving was clarified under President Franklin D. Roosevelt to be commemorated on the fourth Thursday in November.

“As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives,” President Obama stated in his proclamation. “Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the year to come.”

To put it another way, take the time to count your blessings.

Counting or math may not intrigue everyone. But, with help from the Census Bureau and media outlets, here are some numbers to aid in showing the national impact of Thanksgiving:
• 248 million – The number of turkeys expected to be raised in the U.S. in 2011. That is 2 percent higher than the number of turkeys raised during 2010. The turkeys produced in 2010 weighed 7.11 billion pounds and were valued at $4.37 billion.
• 11.5 million – The preliminary estimate of turkeys South Carolina is expected to raise in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Minnesota, the nation’s top turkey producing state, is expected to raise 46.5 million turkeys in 2011.
• 14,000 – The estimate of the number of soldiers, retirees, civilian employees and family members served a Thanksgiving feast at Fort Jackson in Columbia in 2010. The post’s 12 dining facilities prepared to serve more than 4,000 pounds of turkey, 3,000 pounds of ham and 1,400 pies.

Now, that’s a lot of eating – no matter how you look at it. But, as our nation recovers from the recent economic downturn, let’s be mindful that too many in our communities may not have enough to eat on Thanksgiving – or at other times.

“And as members of our American family make do with less, let us rededicate ourselves to our friends and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand,” President Obama stated in his proclamation as he urged us to give back to those in our communities.

In wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving, let me offer a final number – one. That’s the number of persons it takes to initiate positive change in someone’s life or the community.

It is an honor to serve you in Columbia, and I am grateful for your continued support. As with all matters concerning state government, I want to hear your opinions and suggestions concerning these issues. Please contact me in my Columbia office located at 602 Gressette Office Building. You can reach me, or a member of my staff in Columbia at (803) 212-6008 or by fax at (803) 212-6011. My district office is located at 1305 North Main Street, Marion, SC 29571, the phone number is (843) 423-8237 and the fax number is (843) 431-6049. You may also email me at

As always, I also want to supply you with my business phone number so that you will able to reach me easily at any time. My business phone is (843) 423-3904. Please use this information to write, call or email me with your suggestions and concerns regarding issues before the Senate and in our community.

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