I am thankful that decades ago a young man from the Philippines became a veterinarian and was hired by the USDA to inspect meat in federal meat processing plants as part of the team that ensured the food supply in America was safe.
I am thankful that out of all the possible jobs from sea to shining sea, he was sent to a plant in a tiny town in Western Kansas.
I am thankful he met and married my sister, and became my brother.
I am thankful that another of my siblings came safely home from his service in the US Air Force
bringing with him my niece and his wife, a woman born in Korea.
I am thankful that both my brother-in-law and sister-in-law
joined my family while I was still a child...
That having family from foreign lands expanded my world view and gave me an appreciation for the gift of diversity.
I am thankful that I had the opportunity to witness my brother-in-law in a federal judge's chamber in Thomas County, Kansas as he competently answered questions on American history that the majority of natives would have struggled to answer correctly.
I am thankful that the judge after commenting on his impressive grasp of the history and Constitution of his adopted country, swore my brother-in-law in as a US citizen as my sister and I proudly looked on.
I am thankful that many years later a large group of my family were able to gather in a court room in Sedgwick County, Kansas as my sister-in-law, after successfully completing the requirements for naturalization, stood with a group of immigrants as they all took the Oath of Citizenship to become Americans.
I am thankful I live in a country that boasts a statue that was gifted to US by the country of France and placed in a harbor as a symbol of welcome to those who come to this land seeking a better life.
And I am thankful that as an American I have the right to free speech and the ability to say that anyone who disparages people who desire a better life or to be part of my native land does not speak for me.