~Museum of Shenandoah Valley
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States of America.
A million turkeys will be roasted, barrels of apples and countless pumpkins will be turned into pie, and families will zig-zag all across our great nation to meet at the dinner table.
How did this tradition start? Why is Thanksgiving a national holiday?
For some, it’s an embarrassing *reminder* of how our European ancestors stole this land and brutalized the native American people.
However Thanksgiving is NOT about the pilgrims’ famous Plymouth feast, who shared their harvest bounty with a few Indians in November 1621…that’s just the story-line taught to children in elementary school classrooms.
In fact, history.com states that “for some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States.”
Thanksgiving was established as a U.S. national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, at the height of the Civil War.
In a proclamation, President Lincoln entreated ALL Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”
I think this sentiment is especially apropos given our current political “civil war” that’s steadily divided our country over the past decade or so.
History.com also reminds us that “as an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia.
And so, 153 years after Abraham Lincoln’s national proclamation – millions of Americans have an opportunity to observe this day as one of Thanksgiving.
I know I will! I’ll be with close friends, seated around a bountiful table, giving thanks for another year of brightest blessings.
There is always something to be thankful for – the joy of birdsong, the warmth of winter sunshine, an elder’s good health, shelter from a storm, a smile from a friend…the list is never-ending.
To ALL my fellow Americans – I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!