The Empty Chairs at America’s Thanksgiving Table

 To the families and friends of those lost at Parkland, Tree of Life, Thousand Oaks, Santa Fe High, the Capitol Gazette, and at so many more inexplicable moments of mass violence that they have become an  unforgivable blurred memory of terror; To those who lost loved ones or are without homes after the wild fires throughout California; To those who have lost loved ones or are without homes after horrific hurricanes in Florida, North and South Carolina, Virginia, and still Puerto Rico; To those who have lost loved ones to illness and age; To those who are separated from loved ones by their service to our country; To those who have lost or are separated from loved ones by the ravages of opioid addiction; To those who are alone or separated from loved ones for reasons no one seems to understand; I understand the emptiness of “thoughts and prayers” as you sit at a Thanksgiving table with empty chairs today. As you sit at a table in a shelter or with strangers who have made room for you at their tables. As you defy the Norman Rockwell image of the holiday. Thoughts and prayers are only words. But words offer acknowledgement and acknowledgement is the seed of action. Though my words may be inept, I honor those missing from your Thanksgiving table today.         

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