Recent Op-Eds

The holiday season seems to arrive sooner and sooner each year. With it comes the joy and happiness of being able to spend time with our loved ones, reflect on the blessings of the year, and rejoice in God’s gift to mankind – that’s what this time of year is all about, after all. I’m grateful to be able to spend the holidays in South Dakota, healthy and happy, which is the greatest gift I could receive. And I always look forward to this time of year when I’m able to create new memories with friends and family as we celebrate the traditions of Christmases past.

It wouldn’t be the Christmas season without a trip down memory lane. Whether it’s sledding down Jackson Ave. in Murdo as a kid, spending all of those Christmas Eve nights at my grandmother’s house, or watching Brittany and Larissa perform in church and school Christmas programs, the memories still make me smile. When you think about it, memories like these, which are unique to every family, really help define the holiday season. Looking back, I’m so thankful for everything with which our family has been blessed.

This time of year, I can’t help but think of all the moms and dads and sisters and brothers who will be spending the holiday season away from the comfort of their own homes. It would be an understatement to say the brave men and women in the military make innumerable sacrifices in their career, and spending the holidays halfway around the world is no exception. Their service is the most selfless gift anyone could give, and their sacrifice is not lost on the American people.

I was fortunate to have been able to participate in the recent welcome home ceremony for the South Dakota Army National Guard’s 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. It’s always good when our troops return home safe and sound, but for them and their families, I don’t think there’s any better time of year than now.

I say it every chance I can get, but it’s the hard-working people of South Dakota who make our state the best place to live, work, and raise a family. On behalf of my family – including the newest addition, my granddaughter Henley Joy – I want to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. I hope it’s as memorable as it is merry and bright.