(Updated .)

Every year, the citizens of the United States tend to celebrate a holiday called "Thanksgiving" meant to celebrate an event of mythical proportions here. You see, hundreds of years ago, when settlers from Europe first started arriving in force in "The New World" few had any idea of how brutal the winter could be here; particularly in the "New England" region of the country where they mostly took residence. When the settlers failed to properly stock up on food for the upcoming winter, and hundreds were dying of starvation and malnutrition, the Native American tribes near them brought food to aide the newcomers. I won't touch on the politics or racism that occurred in the centuries following this event as it's not relevant or in the spirit of this message, but at the very least, this event highlights that the spirit of man is not all bad. That strangers can be as well intentioned as the best of friends.

But for the last few decades this holiday has had less to do with the principles of the original holiday, and more about filling our stomachs to capacity, watching football, and then spending all our money on our way towards Christmas.

In light of last year's terrorist attacks on this country, I think we need to refocus our vision on what this holiday is really about. We need to remember why we're giving thanks, and not just use it as another day off.

Think about this for a moment: What would you be without your family, your friends, and your country? More importantly, what would you be without your own personal spiritual guidance? I'm not saying that you should thank the Judeo-Christian God or any other for creating you and putting you where you are, but whatever moves you deserves your thanks.

Once you've thanked your guide, you should thank your family. Without family, our lives are meaningless. Everyone needs family whether they are family by blood, marriage, or merely an emotional bond. No one supports you like family does, and no one accepts you more completely than they will either. Your family is your past, your present, and your future. Admire them. Honor them. Make them proud. Your love is all the thanks they need.

Friends are everything. Your friends are a reflection of who you are. They are your insight into yourself. Friends will surprise you with the support they lend. Friends will go through great lengths to do for you which you cannot do for yourself. Friends cheer you up when you are feeling down. Friends will not let you come to any harm, if it is in their power to prevent it. Friends will tell you the truth, no matter how painful it might be. Be sure to thank your friends.

What can I say about being thankful for your country? Right now, I'm not feeling particularly patriotic, and I can't say that I support the current leadership. I'll come right out and say it, it is not a crime to disagree with the President of the United States. It is not treason for me to say that I don't support his policies, or to say that I fear the path that this country is taking under his leadership. But I can say this out of love for my country. Despite the years my people have suffered through racism in this country, along with all the other non-Caucasian citizens of this country, I love this place. Despite the centuries of slavery, the oppression, the discrimination, the conspiracies, the apathy, the mismanagement, the lies, and the abuse, I love the principles on which these United States of America were founded.

I give thanks to the founding fathers for having the foresight to create a government that allows me to say that I don't agree with the current ruler. I give thanks to them for stating that "all men were created equal" meaning that the greatest of us was born no better than the least of us. I give thanks to them for designing a government that has lasted centuries, with little change, that has not been perverted for any one man's goals. I give thanks to all the men and women that fought to establish this country, and all that have died protecting it. I simply wish I had more to offer them.

Give thanks tomorrow, for all that you have, and that all that you are. There are many people without your talents, gifts, liberties, families, and friends. Give thanks that you are more fortunate than they are, and then give them thanks by helping where you can.

I personally would like to thank the following individuals for all their support, love, guidance, and friendship:

  • Aremetta and Billy Rodgers, my parents.

  • Beverly Rodgers and her son Bevan, my sister and my nephew.

  • Melvin and Grace Yanagisawa, my parents-in-law.

  • Lori Yanagisawa, my wife.

  • Lisa Yanagisawa, my sister-in-law.

  • Elizabeth, Rosa, and William, my elder siblings.

  • Maxx and Dawn Marshall, a best friend and his wife.

  • Omar Lawton, my other best friend.

  • Sean Bermudez & Erin, great friends indeed.

  • Joe & Renee Dutro, more great friends.

  • Jackie Morrison, a greater aunt could not be found.

  • Curtis Morrison Jr., a great friend and cousin long missed.

  • Jonathan and Michelle Tarbox, yet more great friends.

  • Ericka Campbell and Natasha Lombard, great old school friends.

  • Dave and Lisa Brown, thanks for taking me in.

  • Raymond Morrison and family, the greatest uncle+family on earth.

  • Robert A. Salvatore and family, for inspiring me with his mind.

  • George Lucas and family, for inspiring me with his vision.

  • Martin Luther King, Jr., and family, for inspiring me with his soul.

  • God, for giving me everything.