The news that some big retailers will be opening on Thanksgiving Day this year and that there may be a shortage of turkeys has me thinking about this great American holiday and how it came to be sacrosanct in our culture.
I mean, is there anything more American than turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole and baked pies—pumpkin, apple, cherry and pecan?
Actually, about the only thing on today’s Thanksgiving menu that the Pilgrims enjoyed in 1621 was the turkey and it was not the “centerpiece” of the meal according to Smithsonian.com. More likely goose or duck was the wildfowl of choice and there was pumpkin, squash, Indian corn and nuts gathered from the forest.
Not even the date is historical. President George Washington proclaimed Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a national day of thanksgiving. Other presidents did likewise, from time to time, until President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national, annual holiday with a specific date, the last Thursday in November.
All was well for 75 years until President Franklin Roosevelt, at the behest of retailers seeking to extend the Christmas shopping season, moved the date to the second-to-last Thursday which is said to have divided the country with some states following FDR’s proclamation, others celebrating on the traditional date and Colorado and Texas deciding to honor both dates! In 1941, Congress passed a law declaring that Thanksgiving would occur on the fourth Thursday of November where it has been celebrated ever since.
One thing hasn’t changed, however, and that is Thanksgiving Day is a time to gather together—with family and friends and as a grateful nation—to give thanks for our many blessings.
On this Thanksgiving, my associates and I at Market Street Services are thankful for the work local and state chambers are doing to strengthen our nation’s economy and important initiatives to improve the lives of all people.
And we are especially thankful to our clients for the opportunity you have given us to work with you.