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When we reflect on Thanksgiving, we often have images of the grateful Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians sharing a bountiful feast on a fall New England day.
Gently falling leaves under a blue sky with a cool breeze as the meal unfolds.
True, the holiday dates back to the time the early settlers sat down with their Native American friends and shared good food and fellowship. That was 1621.
Still, it wasn’t until 1863 – two years into the Civil War that President Abraham Lincoln appointed a day of thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November.
That day might have been selected by President Lincoln since it marked the anchoring of the Mayflower at Cape Cod.
Since that time, each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set the date for Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November in 1939. Congress approved so in 1941.
As we head to the dinner table, we shouldpause to remember the people who carved their names in our nation’s rich history and gave us the gift of freedom.
Those heroes of U.S. history deserve deep thanks for setting aside such a day to just give thanks.
True, they didn’t have the big city parades, NFL games or college clashes as well as many of the fine luxuries we now enjoy. They did have each other and as we gather Thursday, we should now and always be thankful for our family and friends.
Before taking a bite of that juicy turkey or crunchy dressing, take a moment to reflect on those who are defending our nation. It might be a brave brother, or selfless sister who only a few short years ago were holding hands with the family at a Thanksgiving in the not-so-distant past. Yes, the memories are as sweet as that cranberry sauce.
Or was it a cousin who you always wondered if he would ever mature. Now, he’s a impressive figure in his dress uniform stationed in Iran or Afghanistan. His picture is the mantle centerpiece. Or how about that young lady down the street? She was always a fireball, but now she’s firing off orders as an army sergeant.
Then, don”t forget those policemen, firefighters and emergency workers who are working Thursday. We appreciate their dedication. Or how about our leaders, from city hall to congress. The list goes on – teachers, coaches, ministers and doctors.
We live in a time when we have so much to be thankful.
Take some time today – no matter how long or short – and think about the holiday. It’s not just a stepping stone to Christmas.
It’s as the Pilgrims, Lincoln and FDR noted – a time to give thanks for our endless blessings.
Take some time to honor its meaning.