Editorial: This holiday is one to count one's blessings
Thanksgiving is a uniquely time-honored American holiday tradition. To some, it's just a day off. To some, it is just football day. To others, it's a day of rest before the big shopping day. For the majority of Americans, it is a day to gather wi...
Thanksgiving is a uniquely time-honored American holiday tradition.
To some, it's just a day off. To some, it is just football day. To others, it's a day of rest before the big shopping day.
For the majority of Americans, it is a day to gather with family, share good food and to give thanks for our bounty.
Thanksgiving was originally celebrated as a harvest festival by American Indians. The holiday of Thanksgiving has often been tied -- by historical legend as well as by marketing -- to the Pilgrims of the Mayflower.
The first Thanksgiving in New England was held by the Pilgrims in 1621, a little more than a year after they first arrived on the shores of North America. After a torturous 66-day voyage, a long and hard first winter and their first planting and resulting bounty, the Pilgrims chose to celebrate their survival. Gov. William Bradford proclaimed a harvest festival.
This first Pilgrim celebration was actually a three-day festival held sometime between Sept. 21 and Nov. 9. It was 55 years before another Thanksgiving Day was officially proclaimed in another Massachusetts community. However, a New England tradition of harvest festivals did continue.
In 1777 following the American victory at the Battle of Saratoga, a Day of Thanksgiving was declared. Then in 1789, President George Washington proclaimed a Day of National Thanksgiving.
Then magazine editor Sarah Hale campaigned for decades for a Thanksgiving. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, seeking a day to celebrate in the midst of the Civil War, proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a Thanksgiving holiday. And in 1941 Congress finally declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
Thanksgiving is not a memorable holiday for all. Some American Indian families do not celebrate Thanksgiving. It is remembered as a day of mourning for their culture and their people.
Some families are less fortunate this Thanksgiving than in the past.
Some families have lost family members in the Iraq War or have family serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Some families have lost loved ones due to tragedy or other deaths in the past year.
Some families are facing new challenges at the moment, which darkens their outlook during this Thanksgiving.
However, on this Thanksgiving let us remember this thought: We still live in America, a land where a diverse people collectively form a land of freedom and ideas. America remains a great society with significant prosperity.
Thanksgiving is a fitting time to remember our gratefulness for our individual and collective blessings.