So many reasons to be thankful

Published 9:37 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2016

By Chris A. Quilpa

Let me tell you — I feel so blessed to be in America. I can’t thank her enough for what she’s done for my family and me.

I sure did realize my dream here. I joined the U.S. Navy, became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1989 and retired from the Navy in 2005, after 20 years of honorable service to my adopted country.

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So on this Thanksgiving Day, I sincerely thank you, America, for helping me realize the American dream. I thank you for this wonderful, incredible freedom and democracy that my family and I cherish and enjoy.

As an American of Filipino ancestry, I proudly say how much I love this country, where my two young adult children were born to my caring and loving wife, Freny, who has been teaching chemistry to public high school students for almost two decades now.

Together with my younger siblings, who legally immigrated here, I had my first Thanksgiving Day in the United States 33 years ago at my sister Betty’s house in California.

Although I didn’t know much then about this traditional American celebration, I had a good time, because we had that big family Thanksgiving with lots of food and love. Man, that was the first and the biggest turkey I’ve ever seen in my entire life!

On a personal note, I’d like to express my profound gratitude to my sister Betty for being the caring and loving big sister that she is. She made it possible for me and our younger siblings to legally immigrate here in 1983, and she became our second mother once we arrived.

I’ll be forever indebted and eternally grateful to her and my brother-in-law Dennis for their kindness and generosity.

May God bless our beautiful and colorful America! Again, wishing you all a blessed, happy and safe Thanksgiving.

-Chris A. Quilpa, a retired U.S. Navy veteran, lives in Suffolk. Email him at