The basic purpose of the Thanksgiving holiday—celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year—is reasonable and relatively simple for most of us, most of the time, to get behind. We might argue about the holiday’s history or practices, but it would seem strange to proclaim, “Giving thanks for good things in life is wrong.”

While perhaps we don’t need a “feasting day” to remind us to practice gratitude daily, maybe it would be beneficial to think about what we mean when we say “Thank you.”

One way to do that is to trace the roots of the English word “thank,” which stems from the Latin word tongere (tong- means “think”) and translates loosely to the expression “I will think of (or remember) what you have done for me.”

So saying thanks ties together past, present and future. We recognize a past action, and we promise to hold on to that memory, whether or not we repay it in kind.

To take it another step, when we thank another person directly, we create or reinforce a human connection. We acknowledge the other person’s presence and importance. A beneficial action, to be sure.

Person-to-person gratitude is far from the only type—we might thank a higher power or a person who has died, for example—but it has possibly the most immediate and visible effects. Think of a time when someone reached out to say thank you for something you did and you’ve never forgotten it.

We at the Enterprise thank you for reading our weekly papers and our website and for sharing your letters and columns. In the original spirit of thanks, we will remember what you have done for us throughout the coming year and beyond.

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