As we approach Thanksgiving, the first of the holiday season, I find myself thinking about how we should spend that day. That part isn’t so hard. It usually involves gathering with friends and family, eating some good food and sharing some good time together. Not a heavy lift.

Also not too difficult, is to simply say “thank you” for those usual encounters – a little lift here and there, the small favors and courtesies in our daily lives.

What is harder, however, is to be truly thankful for the good that is in our lives. Might be some good news about one’s health, a special event like the birth of child or grandchild, some accomplishment of a friend or family member. I tend to think we take those for granted now and then. Perhaps we even feel a bit entitled to good things. I mean who doesn’t like good vs not so good?

As I think about this in the context of the RAF, I’m not sure of the proper term, but I do know that those of us who hold the privilege of being a pilot already have much to be thankful for. I don’t take this thing called flying for granted. When I say my own little prayer it pretty much includes saying thanks for letting me become a pilot, especially one who’s had the opportunity to touch some backcountry along the way.

The ability to fly is really pretty remarkable and an opportunity that each of us has good reason to appreciate. Using our skills to fly into the backcountry only enhances the privilege. Then when you add in the people who fly, well, that is a truly remarkable part of our lives we can all be thankful for.

Look around, and I bet you consider the friends you’ve made throughout your aviation journey as among your best. I know I do.

So when I roll that all up, I’m glad this holiday season is upon us. It gives me some reflection time – time to look in the RAF mirror and see the reflection of places visited, and people known. Much to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving my friends.

– John McKenna, RAF Chairman


  1. Darrell Morgan on November 15, 2023 at 7:21 pm

    Dear friend and Aviator,
    It brings me great joy that you share your family and thoughts for the season.
    I sat down to write something eloquent, heartfelt and stirring.
    Dang, not very eloquent, but very heartfelt, thank you for the work you do to keep our dream alive.

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