Behind the Victory Flagpole Thankful for Thanksgiving

From our earliest days in school we were taught about Thanksgiving and its association with the Pilgrims. In reality, in the United States, it is an annual festival of Thanksgiving for the blessings and good happenings of that particular year.

Practically, it is a national harvest festival fixed by proclamation of the President and Governors of the state, and is a legal holiday. In 1789 the Episcopal Church formally recognized the civil government’s authority to appoint such a feast, and in 1888 the Roman Catholic Church also decided to honor a festival which had long been nearly universally observed — though nowhere with such zest as in the New England states, where it ranks as the great annual family festival, taking the place which in England is accorded to Christmas.

The earliest harvest Thanksgiving in America was kept by the Pilgrim fathers at Plymouth in 1621. Congress recommended days of Thanksgiving annually during the Revolution, and in 1784 for the return of peace — as did President Madison in 1815.

Washington appointed such a day in 1789 after the adoption of the Constitution, and in 1795 for the general benefits and welfare of the nation. Since 1863 the Presidents have always issued proclamations appointing the last Thursday in November, as Thanksgiving Day. So let us continue to be thankful for all the good things in our lives!