November 22, 2006
Thanksgiving has much meaning
Thanksgiving seems to have become little more than the
day before the launch of Christmas shopping, the biggest
retail day of the year. How did our society lose the integrity
of the day originally set aside, in the early 1600s by
the Pilgrims? They paused for humble appreciation. What
ought one do on Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving Day is an annual one-day to (traditionally
two) at the close of the harvest season, officially started
in 1621. In the middle of the, 1863, President Abraham
Lincoln, proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be
celebrated on the final Thursday of November. In 1939,
President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving
would be the next-to-last Thursday of November. With
the country still in the midst of the Great Depression,
Roosevelt thought this would give merchants a longer
period to sell goods before.
Increasing profits and spending during this period, Roosevelt
hoped, would aid bringing the country out of the Depression.
This seems to be how we arrived at where we are.
My recommendation is to enjoy a good meal with family
and friends. Include time to offer thanksgiving for some
or all of the following:
- Opportunities to live and prosper in a society with
the freedoms and life-affirming principles forged by
complicated and committed citizens who, nearly 250
years ago, formulated the Constitution and Bill of
- Friends and family who care and support you, even
with their full knowledge of your imperfections.
- Faith you have the spiritual truths that feed your
mind and soul.
- Health and safety professionals including doctors,
dentists, nurses, medical support personnel, officers
of the law, emergency personnel and those in the armed
forces who risk their lives without complaint, and
public servants who labor on behalf of so very many
who are unable to protect themselves.
- Teachers and professors, from preschool to graduate
level, who transfer essential cultural building blocks
and inspire intellectual breakthroughs that propel
society along positive and constructive pathways.
- Hospitality workers who clean rooms, wash dishes,
garden, do laundry, park cars, maintain sidewalks and
offer a pleasant respite from the demands of everyday
- Artists, actors, entertainers and musicians, on stage,
in concerts and films, including television, theater
and radio, who provide renewal through stimulating
diversion and creative escape.
- Sports figures who demonstrate the benefits of sacrifice,
hard work and teamwork.
- Your parents - living and dead - for having brought
you into the world.
- Mentors who have taught important lessons for life
- Your body and its organs which enable you to breathe,
listen, understand, speak, communicate, and offer integrity-centered
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