Today is a day to count our blessings and to be grateful for our family, our friends, and our freedoms.

There is so much happening in the world and in our nation that is alarming. There are so many nations and regions where the great majority of people don’t have personal security, where every day is a struggle to survive, where life is cheap, where men with guns threaten everyone daily. We can be grateful to live in a nation where most people most of the time are not in constant danger.

Clearly, we have serious problems to address in our own country, especially the fact that so many live in poverty in a land of abundance. We must commit ourselves to rectifying that terrible wrong so that all can be assured of enough to eat, a good place to live, and appropriate medical care. Or as Franklin D. Roosevelt put it so eloquently in his address to Congress in 1941:

“For there is nothing mysterious about the foundations of a healthy and strong democracy. The basic things expected by our people of their political and economic systems are simple. They are:

“Equality of opportunity for youth and for others.

“Jobs for those who can work.

“Security for those who need it.

“The ending of special privilege for the few. The preservation of civil liberties for all.

“The enjoyment of the fruits of scientific progress in a wider and constantly rising standard of living.”

This was the speech where he enunciated The Four Freedoms:

“The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

“The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way—everywhere in the world.

“The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants- everywhere in the world.

“The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

“That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

“To that new order we oppose the greater conception—the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.”

Words spoken 74 years ago, a vision of a world that still eludes us, a vision that we must not abandon.

I am grateful to live in America. I am grateful for my family and friends. I am grateful for life and health.

I am grateful to the educators who dedicate their lives to helping children gain the skills, knowledge, and character to build a better world.

To all of you, parents, teachers, social workers, psychologists, health workers, and political activists who fight for children: Thank you.