It's nice that we set aside a day, or at least a few hours, once a year, to think about all the things to be thankful for, because it's easy enough to forget all that in the noise and rumble of daily life. We spend a lot of time griping, and a lot of time worrying, and a lot of time just rushing here and there. But those of us who fly, have something extra to feel thankful about. It's easy to take it for granted, but in fact most of the humans who ever lived on earth, even most of the almost-seven-billion who are living today, never have had the experience.
They've never had the experience of looking down on white clouds from above, or watching lightning flash in the tops of distant thunderheads at night. They've never picked red maple leaves from treetops in the fall, reaching out of the basket of a hot-air balloon. They've never climbed to 2,000 feet in a trike, then cut the engine to glide silently back to earth. They've never pushed in the throttle with one hand and eased back the yoke with the other hand, to feel the wheels lift magically off the ground. They've never sat in the front seat of a jet, or buckled up to ride on the floor in the back end of a DC-3.
So along with friends and family, health and at least a bit of relative wealth, and all the other multitudes of good things that we take for granted -- things like roads and bridges, warm fires in winter and cool breezes in summer, schools and libraries and grocery stores -- we aviators can add one more item to our list of things to be thankful for.