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Thanksgiving Day in America

Thanksgiving Day in America

I wish everyone a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving. The holiday kick-off is at our doorstep, complete with an early walk in a winter wonderland. Yeah, I think I could have waited for that. But you have to admit, there’s nothing like the beauty of that first falling snow. That perfect white blanket covering the West Branch Valley, no matter of your age it makes you feel like a kid again. Besides, with the weather we’ve been having this year, what else would you expect?

Before we fly right by Thanksgiving into the Christmas season, please make sure you take the time to reflect and give heartfelt thanks for all your blessings. Explain to the children what Thanksgiving is all about. Give God and his son Jesus Christ some extra thanks for that special blessing of young folks in your life.

Now for a little traditional Thanksgiving Day in America by the numbers. The event which has become most recognized as the first Thanksgiving on American soil occurred on October 22, 1621, at Plymouth. It was to give thanks and celebrate the autumn harvest. The attendees were recorded for history sake by Edmund Winslow. There were 53 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans from the Wampanoag Nation that shared the harvest feast.

Our first president, George Washington, designated November 26, 1789, as “A day of public Thanksgiving and prayer. To be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.” I think President Washington made clear the importance of God and giving thanks for everything our newly born Country was about.

In 1863, our Nation was divided in the midst of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving “To heal the wounds of the nation.” He asked God to “Commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife.” President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving officially as a National holiday on the fourth Thursday in November. This made the United States of America the first country recognizing Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

President Lincoln’s taste for a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving helped it become the main course of the American feast. A tradition that will have about 46 million turkeys served at the American dinner table this year. Almost 88% of American households will be serving turkey on Thanksgiving Day. Wow, that’s a lot of birds! And almost all will be followed by a short nap.

The traditional Thanksgiving meal to feed ten is estimated to cost $50.11. That seems a little bit light to me. What isn’t light is the amount of calories Americans will consume on Thanksgiving Day. It is estimated that the average caloric intake including all those extra desserts and cold turkey sandwiches is about 4,500. You will need to walk from here to Plymouth Rock to burn that off.

Besides playing in the backyard Turkey Bowl, what do fellow Americans choose for entertainment on Thanksgiving? If you said the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and NFL football you got it right. This year will mark the 92nd Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. An estimated 50 million viewers will watch the parade at some point — while about 3.5 million will actually pack into Manhattan.
The giant Snoopy balloon has made the most appearances of any character balloon. Since 1968 and it has flown through the streets of New York on 40 occasions — the first giant balloon to appear was Felix the Cat. Williamsport’s own Dale Schneck has attended the parade 31 times, and been a giant balloon handler on seven occasions. His favorites to fly were the M&M’s balloon and the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. It takes over 8,000 volunteers like Dale to pull off the parade.

Moving right on to America’s favorite Thanksgiving pastime of the NFL, an average of 28.5 million stuffed football fans will view each game at some point. When you think of Turkey Day football the first team that comes to mind is the Detroit Lions. They will be hosting their 79th Thanksgiving Day game this year. The Lion’s all-time record, not so good 37–39–2. The best memories that come to mind of Thanksgiving Day NFL action has to be that of Detroit’s Barry Sanders. The Hall of Famer is the all-time total yards from scrimmage leader for the day. In ten Thanksgiving Day games, he totaled 1,054 yards and ten touchdowns. Most were with that style only Barry Sanders could provide. That’s how he earned the nickname “Sweetness.”

So, enjoy everything about Thanksgiving past and present. Most importantly, give thanks for all that is good in the name of God and his son Jesus Christ. God Bless America.

Jim Webb

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