Our View: Thanksgiving means sharing
Thursday , November 28, 2013 - 8:15 PM
It's Thanksgiving time, one of our major holidays and generally regarded as the gateway to the Christmas “holiday season” that ends with New Year’s Day. Later today, with our stomachs full of turkey, some of us will continue watching football, some will put up the Christmas tree, others will head to stores, seeking bargains in a commercial environment that finally has preceded “Black Friday” in its initiation.
It merits a reminder of Thanksgiving’s beginnings. It purports to honor the Plymouth pilgrims’ first harvest in the “New World,” or America, in 1621. The feast reportedly lasted three days and invitations were extended to American Indians. In fact, there were more American Indians at the feast than English immigrants. Even before that date, Thanksgiving had been observed by earlier immigrants.
The first Thanksgiving followed a harvest. It was a celebration of gratitude. Food among those celebrating was shared. A proper theme of Thanksgiving is sharing our good fortune with others. During the holiday seasons, some expression of charity, or sharing your time, efforts, or good fortune with others, would be an appropriate response to the holiday we celebrate on a Thursday in November. There are certainly many in need who could benefit from what many of us have to offer.
Although Thanksgiving was often observed, at different times, throughout American history, it was 150 years ago that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the final Thursday in November be designated as the Thanksgiving holiday. His proclamation urged that Americans remember “widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife,” meaning the Civil War.
In short, Thanksgiving was established to share our benefits with others, and to help those in need. That charge will always be with those who truly honor its meaning and purpose.