Although nine other countries in the world have thanksgiving celebrations, the U.S. holiday is unique in the aspect that along with being a day of giving thanks, it is also tied to the earliest period of our country. It is not only a national holiday but a prominent moment in American history, that is still taught in schools.
Since 1621, Americans have celebrated Thanksgiving, but it did not become an official US holiday until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln made the last Thursday of November the day the country celebrates the event. This date has remained the same ever since, except in 1940 and 1941, when President Franklin Roosevelt attempted to move the celebration to the third Thursday of the month for commercial reasons. This change was not received well and was short-lived.
The question of where the first Thanksgiving celebration was held in the United States has been a subject of debate, between New England and Virginia. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy attempted to find a compromise between the claims, by issuing a proclamation, “Over three centuries ago, our forefathers in Virginia and in Massachusetts, far from home in a lonely wilderness, set aside a time of thanksgiving. On the appointed day, they gave reverent thanks for their safety, for the health of their children, for the fertility of their fields, for the love which bound them together, and for the faith which united them with their God.”
So on this, the 400th year of Thanksgiving celebrations in the U.S. let us all take a moment to be thankful. It can be easy sometimes to overlook how fortunate most of us are in the United States, especially with all that has gone on over the past couple of years. But, if you take a moment, I am sure we can all find many things to be thankful for, families, friends, pets, health, happiness… Whatever it may be, be sure to acknowledge the blessings and gifts that you and your family have.