Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.
— Henry Van Dyke
American author, diplomat, educator and clergyman
Despite the many differences in our nation, we Americans have much to be thankful for on Thanksgiving 2022. Most of us will gather once again on this very special American holiday with family, friends and neighbors. That in itself is something to be grateful for.
Many of us will share whatever good fortune we have with those who are less fortunate.That spirit of giving is a great part of the American character, and for that too we should be grateful.
Above all, there is the fact that we live in the greatest nation the world has ever known, a nation where the freedoms we have and the blessings of free enterprise that we enjoy give us a standard of living beyond the imaginations of earlier generations.
Some fun facts about this special day:
• The tradition began in November 1621 when the Pilgrims first corn harvest proved so successful that Governor William Bradford invited their Native American allies to join the harvest celebration. Members of the Wampanoag tribe came with so much food that the event lasted three days.
• It was writer and editor Sarah Josepha Hale who convinced President Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. She was known at the time as the mother of Thanksgiving, but today she may be best remembered as the writer of “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
• In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated the fourth Thursday in November as the official day of Thanksgiving, a date chosen to boost the economy during the Great Depression by expanding the Christmas shopping season.
• While Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is by far the most famous, it is not the oldest. That honor goes to the Philadelphia Gimbel Brothers Parade first held in 1920, four years before Macy’s. The Philadelphia parade was by current standards small — only 50 participants — but one of them was a firefighter dressed as Santa Claus to signal the arrival of the holiday season, the beginning of a tradition Macy’s has faithfully carried on.
Whatever our troubles, we still have much to be thankful for, so please enjoy this Thanksgiving.
Robert L. Dilenschneider is the Founder and CEO of The Dilenschneider Group.