Thanksgiving has arrived, that special day for reflection, for sharing our gratitude and for enjoying a splendidly large meal with those we love.
Did you know that we have a president, a secretary of state and the author of “Mary had a Little Lamb” to thank for Thanksgiving becoming a fully recognized holiday in the United States?
Editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale launched her campaign in 1827 to see the annual Thanksgiving tradition dating back a couple hundred years to become an official holiday.
Hale started with President John Quincy Adams — son of Founding Father John Adams, our second president — and finally found success 36 years later with President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Secretary of State William Seward penned Lincoln’s proclamation, which came in “the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity.”
“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” Lincoln’s proclamation reads.
Well, 2021 has certainly been a year, but we still have so much to be thankful for, each and everyone of us.
We are most thankful for all those in our community who put others before themselves during the course of this year as we continue to fight a global pandemic — especially those health care professionals on the front lines.
We are thankful for those who organized food drives to make sure no one went hungry.
We are thankful for those who sought to help children and parents through all the challenges posed by bus shortages, school closures and remote learning.
We are thankful for every single person who continue to check in on a neighbor, just to see if they needed anything.
Our community is strong. And through the works large and small of all our friends and neighbors, we will only continue to get stronger. And for that, too, we offer our thanks.
Even in our nation’s darkest times, Lincoln and Seward found much to be celebrated: “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”
We can all take their words to heart as we head into the holiday season. We can look to the good. We can focus on the positive. We can find our way forward with thankfulness and love in our hearts.
We wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.