By Diane Forrest,
The Pilgrims set ground at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620. Their first winter was devastating. At the beginning of the following fall, they had lost 46 of the original 102 who sailed on the Mayflower. But the harvest of 1621 was a bountiful one. And the remaining colonists decided to celebrate with a feast - including 91 natives who had helped the Pilgrims survive their first year. It is believed that the Pilgrims would not have made it through the year without the help of the natives. The feast was more of a traditional English harvest festival than a true "thanksgiving" observance. It lasted three days.
In 1789, President George Washington wrote a Thanksgiving Proclamation at the request from the members of Congress. Here is the beginning of that 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."
Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays. No presents to buy, no halls to "Deck", just spending time with your family and friends and eating wonderful food! It is a time to think about all you have to be thankful for. No matter what you have, or what problems you have, there is always something to give thanks for. Last thanksgiving was particularly hard for me. I had just lost my husband two weeks before, my sewage system had collapsed, and nothing was right. I am the family blessing sayer, so I had to give thanks for something. It wasn't hard. All I had to do was look around the room at my family around, the table full of food, and the roof over our head to be thankful for what I had.
This Thanksgiving, forget about your problems for the day, and go around the table and say what you are thankful for. Once you start thinking about it, you will be amazed how much you are blessed with. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Day!
Did you know that: shortly after the Thanksgiving Proclamation was written, it was lost for 130 years? The original document was written in long hand by William Jackson, secretary to the President, and was then signed by George Washington. It was probably misplaced or mixed in with some private papers when the US capitol moved from New York to Washington, D.C. The original manuscript was not placed in the National Archives until 1921 when Dr. J. C. Fitzpatrick, assistant chief of the manuscripts division of the Library of Congress found the proclamation at an auction sale being held at an art gallery in New York. Dr. Fitzpatrick purchased the document for $300.00 for the Library of Congress, in which it now resides. It was the first official presidential proclamation issued in the United States.
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