Americans always have much to be grateful for each Thanksgiving season. The annual holiday is best known for turkey, two days off from work, and football. It is a rich tradition that is practiced in much of North America and throughout the world.
There are many claims to the official start date of the Thanksgiving holiday. The earliest claim is by the Spanish, who claimed explorers in San Elizario, Texas held a religious service of thanks in 1598. But the most common claims exist between Virginia and New England. Virginia has the oldest claim, dating to 1619 and the arrival of 38 English Settlers at the “Berkley Hundred” colony. Its founding charter as issued by the London Company recognized the day of thanks with this language: “… that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned … in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”
While Virginia has the oldest claim, Americans typically refer to the Massachusetts Bay Colony’s Thanksgiving celebration as the one most recognized in tradition and national folklore. It first occurred in 1621 and included 53 surviving Pilgrims and a number of Indians. Fifteen pilgrims had already died. By the time supplies and new colonists arrived in 1623, only 4 adult females remained alive from the original landing.
Later, as President of the United States George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “… as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”
Top 5 Things Americans Can Be Thankful For:
1. Patriotism. Back in 2014, singer Janine Stange decided to perform the National Anthem in all 50 states. She is the first person known to do so, and when asked about what led her to do this she replied: “For 90 seconds, no matter who we voted for, or what team we want to win – we are as one. When we stand with our hands over our hearts, we are singing ‘our song.’ That is always to be regarded as a privilege, not a formality. I hope this mission brings a renewed awareness, honor and respect for those who have fought and sacrificed their time, wellbeing, families…and lives for our freedom.” Lost on the so-called anthem/flag protesters in the NFL is that you will not win over an American by disrespecting their flag or their national anthem. George M. Cohan, known as the father of American musical comedies, the “Man who Owned Broadway” and the composer of famous musical scores such as “Over There”, “Give My Regards to Broadway”, “The Yankee Doodle Boy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” also famously wrote the following: “Ev’ry heart beats true, ‘neath the Red, White and Blue.”
2. The opportunity of wealth, prosperity and the pursuit of happiness. As said many times, we enjoy the deepest capital markets, the rule of law, and a historical commitment to liberty that allows each American to pursue their own path in life. Our markets enjoy an unequal status in innovation, and a diverse pool of talent among the population. Nothing should be taken for granted, and freedom is only one generation away from being lost if we are not vigilant, but today in 2017, we have much to be thankful for.
3. The melting pot. Legal immigration is something to be thankful for. People around the world remain desperate for a chance to visit that “Shining City on a Hill” known as America. While illegal immigration can erode a common culture, and can cause political backlash, legal immigration helps us remain the most diverse and innovative economic engine in the world!
4. Our freedoms. Constitution, rule of law, Bill of Rights, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, to peaceably assemble, free from search and seizure, due process … the list goes on. No country in human history has enjoyed the breadth of personal freedom and opportunity as we have here in America. While that personal freedom appears to be fraying, we still should give thanks for the glory that it is to be an American.
5. Our families. Yes, your sister is insufferable … your grandfather keeps telling you that no one could beat the ’27 Yankees … your mother still has a VCR player with the number 12:00 flashing … Dad wants to eat at lunch instead of dinner and the kids do not want to come inside … some have few family members to share with at all. Take the time to give thanks for those that love us and no matter where we are or what we have become, will always stand with you because you are their family.
Sam Adams was an American patriot, revolutionary, the brother of future President John Adams, and of course the namesake of a famous Boston lager. He also is quoted often in patriotic literature, and one of his more famous quotes was: “If ever a time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in Government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin.” Everywhere this Thanksgiving, please be sure to give thanks for American patriots, whose willingness to risk all for this grand experiment gave us a legacy unmatched in human history.
The last thing we should give thanks for, and perhaps most important, is for the men and women of the U.S. military. Separated from their families, around the globe they keep watch to keep the American people safer than any other global empire in human history.
There is a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. There are those in need, people you may know who need a helping hand, and we need to help take care of those less fortunate. But all Americans have reason to give thanks – it starts with knowing that we are … Americans!