Robert L. DilenschneiderRobert L. Dilenschneider

The Holiday Season is underway as the nation approaches Thanksgiving 2017.

America has faced many challenges over the past twelve months, both natural and man-made. But there is much to be thankful for as we come together to celebrate each other and our communities.

Consider offering thanks to:

--The hundreds of thousands of men and women who serve in our Armed Forces and who work every day—many in extremely dangerous circumstances—to ensure our safety and make this holiday possible;

--Our extraordinary police officers and firefighters, who protect us at every turn;

--The legions of emergency workers who toil night and day in places like Houston, Mexico City, Puerto Rico and other parts of the nation and the world;

--The unsung volunteers who work every day to lift up those of us who need it most;

--The thousands of educators and administrators who work for modest pay to prepare our young people for the future.

We owe all these people—and many more like them—a lot. Taken together with the generosity of the American people, they are what constitute our national character.

Now, some facts about Thanksgiving:

--Thanksgiving is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in November. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621. It was not celebrated again for 55 years. President George Washington proclaimed Thursday, November 26, 1789, as a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer,” establishing a non-sectarian tone for the day and stressing the political and moral blessings that make American self-government possible.

--New York adopted a day of Thanksgiving in 1817 as an annual celebration, and in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln designated a national day of Thanksgiving. This year marks the 154th anniversary of Lincoln's Proclamation.

--Among the foods served at that first Thanksgiving in 1621 were waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash.

--There are 4.6 million multigenerational households in the U.S. living in the 118.9 million occupied housing units across the nation.
There were 66,284 supermarkets and other grocery (except convenience) stores in the U.S. in 2015; 3,510 baked goods stores and 2,792 fruit and vegetable markets.

--There are four places and townships in the United States named Cranberry. Cranberry Township (Butler County, Pa.) was the most populous with 30,739 residents; Cranberry Township (Venango County, Pa.) with 6,452 residents was next.

--Sarah Josepha Hale, an influential magazine editor and author, petitioned for a national Thanksgiving holiday for close to 40 years, believing that “Thanksgiving, like the Fourth of July, should be considered a national festival and observed by all our people.” She was also the author of the classic nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

--In 1953, someone at Swanson misjudged the number of frozen turkeys it would sell that Thanksgiving and remedied the problem by slicing up the meat and packaging it with trimmings on the side, resulting in the invention of what we know now as the TV dinner.

Thanksgiving. We all have much to be thankful for.

Enjoy the day.


Robert L. Dilenschneider is founder and chairman of The Dilenschneider Group, a global public relations and communications consulting firm headquartered in New York City. The former CEO of Hill and Knowlton, Inc., he is also author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling “Power and Influence.”