Monthly Challenge for November


Theme: Honoring Veterans and Purifying Our Thanksgiving.
In the context of honor and refinement, it is the act of acknowledging those who protect and defend the ideas of our country, those who facilitate the process for us to be able to enjoy our liberties and pursue our dreams. Veterans Day and Thanksgiving are important times of the year to reflect on the past and current sacrifices of those who serve and celebrate them as we celebrate the joys of life.

Each month, we grow on a personal level through a quest of higher order thinking that is applied by service related interaction in a variety of settings. This month, we have another meaningful challenge that centers around our understanding of Veterans Day and Thanksgiving in terms of honor and refinement.

Charles Spurgeon stated that “before you go out into the world, wash your face in the clear crystal of praise. Bury each yesterday in the fine linen and spices of thankfulness.”

Richard Gilder eloquently stated that “better than honor and glory, and history’s iron pen, was the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow men.”

Look within at how you view your blessings and ability to bless others. As we enter the season of Thanksgiving, we must be mindful of those who played and those who continue to play pivotal roles in the opportunities before us, and for this we give thanks. This may include rendering recognition for contributions of guidance, giving, and governance. Furthermore, this holiday season should be the fire for us to do better in the execution of all affairs.

President John F. Kennedy said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

Based on my years of interactions and observations during my travels, I find that various individuals and communities in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving for various reasons.

Tasks: During this month the challenge is to contribute in two profound ways.
First: Do a notable deed for an aging or disabled Veteran once a week for the entire month. This can be conducted at the individual, family, or organizational level. This act can be as simple as doing home chores for a Veteran, running errands or assisting in much needed home repairs. Furthermore, one can take a fruit tray to a Veteran’s Administration (VA) hospital or the home of an area elderly Veteran. Regardless of the endeavor, spend quality time listening to the Veteran. Take advantage of the opportunity by noting their significant contributions of military service.

Notable facts:
The holiday began as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I.
• In 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual observance.
• In 1938, Nov. 11 became a national holiday.
• In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name to Veterans Day in order to honor veterans of America’s wars.

Second: Share a moment of thanks with at least two elders each week during this reflective and most appreciative month. This sharing can be complemented with greeting cards, flowers, or fruit trays. Take advantage of the time by learning about one of their most passionate skills, treasured lesson from experience, the trails of their parents and grandparents, or their noteworthy accomplishments during their high-performance years.

Notable facts:
In 1621, after a hard and devastating first year in the New World, the Pilgrim’s fall harvest was very successful and plentiful. They found they had enough food to put away for the winter and they were at peace with the Native American Indians. The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.

A sense of appreciation is the goal for this month.
Develop an individual matrix for measuring your educational and inspirational gains through direct contact with those you acknowledged and / or aided.

Veterans Day and Thanksgiving will be more meaningful to you and others because of your direct efforts to learn, serve and make a difference.

Equally, you will share your blessing and implant long-term joy upon the hearts with others – just by being there.

Every moment shared is a session of enlightenment. Therefore, document and share your experience with young adults in your circle of communication.

** The Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Retrieved at

** Veterans Day Facts. Retrieved at

** Understanding Military Culture. Retrieved at

** The History of Thanksgiving and Its Meaning. Retrieved at

The History of Thanksgiving and its Celebrations

The willingness to serve, despite the conditions, can afford one the opportunity to understand the importance of freedom. At times, a challenge can stem from a variety of internal and external conditions. Such conditions can be understood and offset by those willing to sacrifice time, health, sometimes wealth, and even self for the greater good of others. Many have sacrificed and I, too, have benefited from traces of other’s grace.
– Joe Shakeenab