Monday, November 25, 2013
The spirit of Thanksgiving transcends generations
For nearly four centuries, Americans have observed a form of the holiday we call today Thanksgiving. Over time, its date has fluctuated and its traditions evolved. Our first president, George Washington, issued the first national proclamation declaring a national day of thanksgiving in 1789. Our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, made Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863. And our longest serving president, Franklin Roosevelt, fixed that holiday in federal law in 1941.
But the underlying purpose of Thanksgiving – to give thanks for the multitude of blessings conferred on our country and its inhabitants by divine providence – has been essentially unchanged.
This year, on Nov. 28, we will reaffirm that purpose at family and community gatherings all over the country (and wherever Americans find themselves around the world.) We will watch football games (go Lions!) and parades on TV. Most of us will eat turkey.
Let us also reserve some of our gratitude this Thanksgiving to those in uniform who will spend the holiday away from their own families, serving our nation’s interests and protecting our freedoms.
The colonists who initiated this great tradition in the early days of the 17th century had no football or parades (and almost certainly no turkey) to mark the holiday. Yet they provided us with the enduring principle that makes it special. We truly are a blessed nation. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
U.S. Representative Candice S. Miller
Harrison Township – 10th Congressional District