Why We Celebrate Thanksgiving

How Much Do You Know About Thanksgiving? 

It is common knowledge that in 1621, the Plymouth colonists (Pilgrims) and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast based on the overwhelming corn crop they enjoyed that fall. The meal and celebration are acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in our country. For more than two centuries, specific days of Thanksgiving had been celebrated by individual colonies and states on different days and months. That all changed when a determined and insightful woman by the name of Sarah Josepha Hale lobbied for a national holiday of giving thanks. 
Now we are all of an age, that if asked, we would state Thanksgiving is about celebrating the first full harvest of the Pilgrims. But it is so much more than that. It is more than the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and yes, the NFL.
Don't get me wrong, I love all these elements of Thanksgiving, but I have always known that there was more.  

Sarah Josepha Hale - The Mother of Thanksgiving

Sarah Hale knew that a National day of thanks was much more too. She believed that an identified day of gratitude that everyone could agree on could help ease the growing tensions and divisions between the northern and southern parts of the country. Remember, this was in 1827, and there was a deepening divide between the U.S. 
Northern and Southern territories about slavery. Sarah never gave up her position or her constant appeals for support. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent hundreds of letters to governors, senators, presidents, and other politicians, earning her the nickname, the "Mother of Thanksgiving." 
She continued her efforts even more steadfastly during the Civil War, which started in April of 1961. Finally, Sarah was rewarded with her perseverance, and on October 3rd, 1863,
President Abraham Lincoln declared that there be a National Holiday of Thanksgiving on the final Thursday of November.

Sarah Josepha Hale's Life

Why I Am Truly Grateful 

As a child, I was always grateful to get a four day weekend on the last Thursday of every November. And as a young adult, I was grateful to be able to go out and celebrate on the last Wednesday night of every November, and as a middle-aged man, I am always thankful for uninterrupted time with my family, great food, and football.
But as I write this blog, I see that I am also grateful for the people who came before me, and helped to create a national day of thanks not for themselves but for the good of others. The idea of unity and the knowledge that we are not separate still holds true today. We are all more alike than we think and we all want the same things out of life. We desire fairness, prosperity, health, and respect for our thoughts. 

A True American Patriot

Sarah saw these things and a lot more over 190 years ago. She was a truly amazing person. Sarah was an autodidact, mother of five, a widower by the age of 34, one of the first American woman novelists, editor of a national magazine, and author of Mary had a little lamb. And oh yeah, she helped create a beloved holiday for all Americans to say a collective, Thank you, for all we have been given.  
With all that said, I'd like to take this opportunity and say thank you to Sarah Josepha Hale. You have not been forgotten, and if I have anything to say about it, you never will be.  


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