This is Governor Mike Beebe.

As we gather together with family and friends this Thanksgiving, we are grateful for the many ways that our people and our State have been blessed.

Arkansans give thanks for the freedoms bestowed upon us as Americans, the comfort of living in close-knit towns and communities, and being surrounded by friends and loved ones.  As many people who visit our State discover, our greatest natural resource is our people.  The citizens of Arkansas share a warm and caring spirit of service and giving, and the people of our State enrich the lives of friends, families, visitors, and those in need.

The deep concern that we Arkansans have for one another is evident in our State’s recent commitment to the No Kid Hungry campaign.  This national movement, aimed at ending childhood hunger in our country, is to be commended for its efforts to provide food and hope for those in need.

Earlier this fall, business leaders, federal and state agencies, the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance, and Share Our Strength joined together to provide nutritious food to Arkansas’s children and to identify the silent sufferers in Arkansas who go to bed hungry on a daily basis.  I am proud that Arkansas has chosen to share the passion and dedication that these groups display.

We also give thanks this season to Southern Bancorp, the Ross Foundation, and the Arkadelphia Public Schools.  Their generosity and far-reaching vision are helping an entire community of students afford the opportunity to earn college degrees.  These partners recently launched the Arkadelphia Promise, making a college education a real option for every child in Arkadelphia.  Just as the El Dorado Promise provides funding for students to go to college, the community of Arkadelphia has committed support and guidance to a generation of students.  It is gratifying to know that these programs will provide life-changing opportunities for so many young people in our State.

Many of the blessings we take for granted today are due to the service of another group of Arkansans.  Our military servicemen and women have fought courageously around the world to protect and preserve the life we enjoy here at home.  This Veterans Day, I was pleased to join veterans in the Capitol Rotunda to honor them and give thanks for their sacrifices.  I encourage all Arkansans to show your gratitude for our veterans every day and not just on designated holidays.  We are thankful for those who have given their lives, for the veterans living and enriching our communities throughout the State, and for those who are still in harm’s way as they continue their service to the Nation.

Throughout this holiday season, please join Ginger and me in celebrating and giving thanks for all that we have, while also remembering to serve and share with those who may be struggling.  As we reflect on the meaning of Thanksgiving, may our hearts be grateful for the gifts we have as Arkansans and may we always be mindful of the needs of others.