Thanksgiving is not about the quantity of food on the table although I hope everyone has the opportunity to share a meal with family or friends to commemorate this season.
This day is a day designed to make us mindful of all the sacrifices by those involved in settling in the New World, and establishing our independence as a nation. This building of strong traditions makes America the greatest society in the world.
We believe the Plymouth pilgrim’s celebration involved their autumn harvest. The bounty of the land was brought to a feast shared by the whole community. That event marked the Pilgrims’ relief at having survived a year in a new land, despite many hardships. It gave them reason to be optimistic about their future in American. That Thanksgiving is a historical reminder to us of how our agriculture is linked to our prosperity as a nation.
Thanksgiving became an official U.S. holiday under very different circumstances when President Lincoln declared it a national day of Thanksgiving amid the strife of the Civil War. That year, I imagine American families, torn apart by war and grief stricken at the absence of loss of family members and friends, had to struggle to find reasons to be thankful.
Like the Pilgrims who prayed for survival, the tables of 1863 must have been very solemn and they also prayed for their survival at an end to the war. Like these earlier folks, we have an obligation to express our “thanksgiving” this year. At my family table, some of the things we pray for are: Americans in uniform, the people working hard in our communities, those who are seeking employment, students bettering themselves through education and those who suffer from medical conditions. I am sure additional inspirational items come from other individual family members.
To say our nation is blessed is an understatement of enormous proportions! We have endured trials and overcome strife; we have built feats of engineering and accomplished great advancements. We have given much to the world and secured our own place in it.
All of this was done by Americans, by people who considered this country as something bigger than themselves. Only by keeping our desire for freedom, and love of nation alive will we assure that generations share in that dream at their future Thanksgiving celebrations.
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