November 25, 2021

By Victor Riches

As we gather around our tables this Thanksgiving, we have the opportunity to reflect on all the things we’re thankful for—particularly our good fortune to live in a country in which we have the freedom to live our lives as we choose.

But the preservation of those freedoms is only possible because of the bravery of everyday patriots: those men and women who choose to enter the fray—despite the odds—to take a stand for the very blessings of freedom for which we give thanks.

These patriots include Nicole Solas, the 2021 recipient of the Goldwater Institute Freedom Award. When Nicole simply asked to see her school’s curriculum for her kindergarten-age daughter, education bureaucrats took extreme measures to hide that information from her, and even attack her for daring to ask questions. With the odds stacked against her, Nicole didn’t relent. She has become a shining example to parents across the nation who care about their children’s well-being and has inspired others to take a stand for parents’ rights.

That is something to be thankful for.

Young Jordan McLinn and his family are also modern-day patriots. Jordan was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy when he was just three years old, and while the right to try to save your child’s life shouldn’t be controversial, the McLinns were initially denied access to medicines that could help Jordan. Their bravery helped pave the way for the passage of Right to Try in Jordan’s home state of Indiana—and it’s given fellow patients greater access to lifesaving care across America.

That is something to be thankful for.

Another patriot is Merita Kraja, the proud owner of a pizza shop that was a staple in the Fountain Hills, Arizona, community for two decades. When the local government unfairly targeted Merita regarding the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations, she courageously stood up to this abuse of power and won. Merita stands as an exemplar of how hard-working Americans can successfully fight back when they’re mistreated by government.

That is something to be thankful for.

On this Thanksgiving Day, we should be grateful for the patriots among us—Americans who put their own well-being and livelihoods on the line so we can all live freer, happier lives. From all of us at the Goldwater Institute, we wish you and your family a holiday season full of goodwill and, of course, freedom.

Victor Riches is the President and CEO of the Goldwater Institute.

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