My Thanksgiving Thoughts – November 25, 2010

By Richard C. Schulman….

City Historian

Richard C. Schulman

Too often we thoughtlessly think of Thanksgiving Day as a day of leisure. Do we not have much more to be thankful for than the Pilgrims who were looking for a New World and new freedom? They found it on our shores, and they gave thanks to God for their survival.

Besides continually reaping our yearly gains, we have been reaping the fruits of the labor of the men and women of the past centuries. “You might ask, “What have they done?” Our land has been cleared and farms built up. Machinery has been invented and our land is beautiful and sanitary. An educational system has been established. Our land is full of universities and colleges where we learn and profit by the truths which others have tough out for us. We have freedom of religion.

Think of the lives of the great religious leaders of the past. Can we not say that our heritage has indeed been a rich one? Most of us live a life far removed from real want. Few of us daily encounter muggers, miss a meal out of necessity or have the greedy and corrupt snatch our savings from us.

Certainly, most of us can be thankful for the necessities of life…Health… Freedom…Time, to enjoy our loved ones on a fall day.

Thanksgiving is our nation’s family day, possibly more so than any other day in the year. It is a day when we are reminded that “no man liveth unto himself” It matter not what our station in life may be; what our prosperity or adversity; this day emphasizes our mutual independence and our responsibility one to another.

Doubtless there are many people throughout the country today called cynics who, in their distress and privations, feel that a day of thanksgiving has no adequate place in their life. It is easy to be thankful where every condition favors us, where the necessities of life are abundantly supplied and health dwells at our fireside! To use the language of an American Poet: “Tis easy enough to be pleasant when life flows along like a song.”

Thanksgiving Day affords our citizens the opportunity of making a mental audit of their assets and liabilities, both spiritual and material.

This festival is America’s only religious feast. Its character is fundamentally social, fraternal, and inspirational. The memory of it, when it has passed, should help the Nation look forward to even a happier Thanksgiving next year. Thanksgiving Day is not merely a time for an extra dinner, neither is it a time to do all the thanking for the 365 days of the year. It is the day to remind us to say, “thank you” a little more often to God and to men.

If we can’t be thankful for what we have, we can be thankful for what we don’t have, Disease and Isolation.

In 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln asked the people of the United States to meet in their places of worship and give thanks to almighty God for the blessing they enjoyed. This proclamation marked the beginning of the Nations annual observance of Thanksgiving Day. Since Lincoln’s assassination, each President was induced to issue proclamations calling upon the people to observe the last Thursday in November as a special day for giving thanks, and Thanksgiving Day is now a national holiday.


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