It’s that time of year again – when we collectively take a moment to slow down, reflect on our lives, and give thanks. In 1621, Pilgrims at Plimoth Plantation in Massachusetts celebrated a bountiful harvest and the assistance of the Native Americans who helped them learn to farm the land in their first difficult year. The feast lasted 3 days and was repeated in 1623 to acknowledge the end of a long drought which has again threatened their crops.
During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated certain days of thanksgiving during the year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the government, with successive presidents following.
In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday, and in 1827, editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. It took 36 years, but she finally succeeded and in 1863 Abraham Lincoln established it as a national holiday.
It is easy to see why it quickly became so popular, and in some ways hard to fathom that it took so long to make it a national holiday. There is something very simple and wholly satisfying about stopping to count your blessings, to give thanks for what you have instead of thinking about what you don’t. Moving forward, looking ahead, wanting more and better for our self and our family is a natural human reaction. Taking stock and giving thanks are too – we just need to remind ourselves to do so.
So this year, as in years past, I am thankful for my wife Maria, my daughter Andrea, my extended family, friends, and colleagues. The richness of our lives is not measured in material possessions but in the people one knows and who enrich our lives each and every day. We must all take a moment to also be thankful that we live in a free nation that, while far from perfect (what is?), affords us the opportunity to protest peacefully and change things for the better through our election process. Finally, we should all give a special thank you to the men and women in our military, emergency services, hospitals and nursing homes who keep us and our loved ones safe and healthy, and who are giving up their holiday, so that we may more fully enjoy ours.
Tomorrow, wherever and however you celebrate the holiday, enjoy and give thanks! Happy Thanksgiving!
CEO and President
ATR International, Inc.