Editorial

Itís not a myth ó we have a lot to celebrate

Saturday, November 30, 2019

There are a lot of myths about our Thanksgiving holiday, from the clothing choices of the Pilgrims to the annual presidential pardon of a lucky turkey.

Washington Post writer Valerie Strauss laid them out in 2016. The Pilgrims didnít wear buckles on their shoes. There was a harvest feast in 1621 shared by the Pilgrims, the Wampanoag Indians and Squanto, but historians have said turkey and pumpkin pie likely werenít on the menu.

George Washington named the first national Thanksgiving holiday, Nov. 26, 1789, but it wasnít a harvest feast, Strauss reported. It was a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, and it was only for that year.

Many of the traditions we celebrate today - including the turkey and pumpkin - can be traced back to author Sarah Josepha Hale, who was a magazine editor from 1837-1877. According to Strauss, it was Hale who led the charge to create a national holiday based on the 1621 feast. She wrote editorials in her magazine every year and published recipes for turkey, stuffing and pie. Hale also lobbied president Abraham Lincoln. In 1863, he created the official November holiday.

Itís been said that Lincoln also started the tradition of pardoning a turkey for the holiday. He did save a turkey from a feast once, Strauss said, but it was at Christmas.

That Thanksgiving tradition actually started in 1989, with President George H.W. Bush.

So, the details have gotten a little fuzzy over the years.

But the basic concept isnít so far off base. That for 398 years of recorded history, we have understood the importance of celebrating our blessings, whether that be friends, faith or the bounty the year has provided.

In a world that has increasingly become about more ó what more do I want, what more should I have ó itís good to stop and appreciate the gifts we have been given. Itís often so much more than we realize.

For our community, just look at the accomplishments of the past year, from the opening of the final phase of Shelby Road and the industrial park overpass, to the announcements of new jobs through Empire Comfort Systems and Briggs and Stratton.

We have schools that are excelling, with national Blue Ribbon awards for Lake Road and Oak Grove elementary schools, new efforts to support the most vulnerable of our residents with a proposed homeless shelter to serve families, and so much more.

We hope this year, everyone has taken a few moments to reflect on their own blessings.

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