November is a month that sees many families begin to prepare for the holidays.  The leaves have changed and the air has cooled and many of us are trying to get a head-start on our holiday shopping.

Yet we must remember that November is an important month for giving thanks.  This month we celebrate both Thanksgiving and Veterans’ Day.  These two holidays are very important as they remind us of all that we have and the sacrifices made by others to ensure we keep what we have.

Many of us know the story of the first Thanksgiving.  We have images of Pilgrims and Native Americans gathering around a turkey in anticipation of a grand feast.  However many may not know that Thanksgiving was not declared a national holiday until 1863.  It was in the midst of the Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday as he asked that citizens not only give thanks on this day, but also “care [for] all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged.”

We see that Lincoln fully intended Thanksgiving to be not only a time of thanks, but also a time of support for those who have sacrificed their lives or have been harshly impacted in the preservation and service to our country.  It seems very fitting that both Thanksgiving and Veterans’ Day are celebrated in November.

Therefore, I have started, in partnership with Cell Phones for Soldiers to collect 50,000 old and unused cell phones this year.  Proceeds will be used to purchase calling cards for our service men and women so they can stay connected to home.  There are 150,000 troops serving oversees.  Help me work to make sure they stay connected to home this holiday season.  For more information on how to donate, please visit my website www.repwillis77.com, call 708-562-6970, or drop your out-of-use phone off at my district office, located at 112 N. Wolf Rd. in Northlake.

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