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November 22, 2016

Thursday is Thanksgiving – a family oriented holiday and a time for solemn reflection. A friend, Bob Dilenschneider, sent me his annual Thanksgiving message and he is allowing me to share it with you. Enjoy it as I did.

“The presidential election is now behind us and the nation is moving toward the Thanksgiving holiday. To mark this important occasion we send this Thanksgiving Message, as has been our tradition for more than 25 years.

There is much to be thankful for.

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;
  • The legions of emergency workers and first responders who toil night and day on health, disaster and other critical issues;
  • Our police officers and firefighters, who protect us at every turn;
  • The thousands of educators and administers who work for very low pay to prepare our young people for the future.

These four examples—our men and women in uniform, our emergency workers, our cops and firefighters, and our educators, together with the generosity of the American people—speak to the American character. The men and women who have stepped forward are unsung heroes for us all.

We owe them a lot.

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. Later, 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 152nd anniversary of Lincoln’s Proclamation.
    There are some 24 million U.S. residents of English ancestry as of 2015—some of the 650,000 living in Massachusetts may represent descendants of the Plymouth colonists.
  • There are 6,500 members of the Wampanoag American Indian tribal grouping as of 2010, half of whom resided in Massachusetts.
  • Among the foods served at the first Thanksgiving were waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash.
  • 243 million: The number of turkeys raised in the U.S. in 2016, up 4 percent from 2015.
  • There were 65,975 supermarkets and other grocery (except convenience) stores in the U.S. in 2014; 3,109 baked goods stores and 2,798 fruit and vegetable markets.
  • The forecasted weight of cranberries produced in the U.S. in 2016: 859 million pounds; the total weight of sweet potatoes produced by major sweet potato producing states in 2015: 3.1 billion pounds.

Melanie Kirkpatrick, former deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal editorial page, makes an important statement about this holiday in her new book Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience:

“Thanksgiving is at the heart of the American experience. It is intertwined with seminal moments in our history—the arrival of the early European settlers, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, the westward expansion, the influx of immigrants…Nearly four hundred years after the First Thanksgiving, gratitude is still the byword of the day. On the fourth Thursday of November, most Americans, believers and non-believers, take seriously the custom of pausing to give thanks. This is the essential meaning of the Thanksgiving holiday.”

Thanksgiving! We all have a lot to be thankful for.

Enjoy the day.

– Bob Dilenschneider”

Robert L. Dilenschneider is the Founder and Principal of The Dilenschneider Group, Inc., Strategic Communications Counselors.

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