Today is Thanksgiving. Today is a day of reflection and rejoicing.
The story of Thanksgiving in America is one built upon the founding of our country. When Pilgrims and Indians celebrated the first harvest in America in 1621. It didn’t become an actual holiday until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln. Since then, it has grown in its scope and has become, in many ways, overshadowed by football games and Black Friday. This holiday has not changed for me. I still participate by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and what ever football game is on; however, the main focus of the day is family, food, and fun. I spend the day with my wife and boys and our extended family. We have turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, an apple cranberry crisp, green bean casserole, corn, apple pie, pumpkin pie, banana and chocolate cream pies, hors d’oeuvres, and much more. I typically call my parents on Thursday morning or on Friday. We sometimes video call so the boys can see their Mimi & Papa.
When I was a kid we played football in the morning with our church group and then came home to clean up and feast, lay around and watch holiday movies such as Holiday Inn and White Christmas (2 of my favorites). We often would have single GIs over since most of them couldn’t travel to be with their families. I didn’t realize how much of a difference it made to me to have others in our home. It wasn’t until I moved out of my parents house and that I realized how much serving others and expressing my personal thanks to them meant to me personally. I loved celebrating this day of Thanksgiving with others who were thankful that someone thought of them. My whole world changed and I grew because of the service rendered by my family to those men and women who served my country. I now miss having them in my home for the holidays.
Today there has been a movement across America to express our gratitude more and to get out and share with others. A movement to be thankful.
This Thanksgiving we are going to do something different to help us remember that it i a day of prayer and thanks giving. President George Washington said in his first Thanksgiving Proclamation.
Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
Please remember why we celebrate this late November and do something to memorialize it. Make it more than just food, football, and family.