Studying the Second World War gives one a perspective that makes the Thanksgiving season all the more meaningful.

During the war, millions of men, women and children were displaced from their homes as soldiers, refugees, (slave) laborers or prisoners. Most did not leave forwarding addresses. So let us be grateful that we know where our loved ones are.

During the war all mail and news was censored, if not completely stopped. The Dutch Queen in London had no way of knowing what was happening amongst her people other than by risky and slow clandestine paths. Prisoners sentenced to “nacht und nebel” (NN, night and fog) were deliberately isolated to spread uncertainty and fear among their compatriots. So let us be grateful for the free flow of communication.

During the war people starved to death, and not just in the concentration and extermination camps or the occupier-orchestrated famines in the Netherlands and Greece. People starved to death in Paris. So let us be grateful for the abundance on our tables.

During the war death and destruction rained down from the skies. By the end the survivors in Berlin were hiding from the rampaging Red Army in caves dug out of rubble without electricity or clean water or any public service whatsoever. So let us be grateful that the skies over North America and Europe are peaceful.

And let us guard that peace zealously and work to extend it to all the people of the world.