Be grateful this Thanksgiving

Dear Editor,

Throughout the nation, families will come together next week to enjoy what may be the most comforting meal of the year — Thanksgiving dinner.

“Give thanks for the companionship; without your family and friends it can be the loneliest day of the year,” says Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. “Consider the lament of Abigail Adams on Thanksgiving Day, November 29, 1798. Her husband, John Adams, was nearly halfway through his tenure as America’s second president. He was busy tending to the needs of a nation still in its infancy and she was all alone at their home in Quincy, MA. Yet, she took the time to compose a letter to the man she called, ‘my dearest friend’.”

Her missive begins with these words, courtesy of Massachusetts Historical Society: “This is our Thanksgiving day. When I look Back upon the Yearpast, I perceive many, very many causes for thanksgiving, both of a publick and private nature. I hope my Heart is not ungrateful, tho sad; it is usually a day of festivity when the Social Family circle meet together tho separated the rest of the year. No Husband dignifies my Board, no Children add gladness to it, no Smiling Grandchildren Eyes to sparkle for the plumb pudding, or feast upon the mind Eye. Solitary and alone I behold the day after a sleepless night, without a joyous feeling. Am I ungratefull? I hope not.”

The celebration of Thanksgiving Day was the brainchild of America’s first president, George Washington. In a proclamation he issued on October 3, 1789, he designated November 26, the last Thursday of the month, as “a day of public thanks-giving.” But Thanksgiving Day was not officially declared a national holiday to be celebrated annually until Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation of his own on October 3, 1863. In it, Lincoln followed Washington’s example and declared that Thanksgiving would be celebrated each year on the last Thursday of November.

– From the Association of Mature Citizens