Thursday, November 26, 2009
Thanksgiving Day is an uniquely American holiday, at least the one at the end of November. American families will gather for a big meal, traditionally of Turkey, as well as thankfulness and fellowship.
The holiday commemorates the first Thanksgiving, begun by the English settlers at Plymouth, Massachusetts, to show thanks for their survival of their first winter of 1620-1621, and their first successful harvest, made possible in large part by the Native Americans. The first Thanksgiving feast, attended by the Native Americans and the Pilgrims, lasted 3 days, history tells us.
The holiday was made official during the Civil War by a proclamation by President Lincoln. The holiday is meant to remind Americans of their many blessings and to remind them also of their obligations to the less fortunate. Many Americans will spend the holiday volunteering in soup kitchens, serving up donated turkey dinners. Many restaurants will open their doors to the poor and feed them without charge. Thanksgiving is a day when no one in America need go hungry, except by his own choice.
Each year, by tradition, a turkey is donated to the President of the United States, and his family. Until President Kennedy, they ate the turkeys. Kennedy let his go. Since President Bush the Elder, the turkeys have received an official presidential pardon, and allowed to live, unlike so many millions of their brethren.
I don't want to get in the habit of posting too many videos. The one below will be the last one for a while. It shows the pardoning ceremony yesterday of a turkey named Courage, by President Obama. I hope you will watch it.
I wish all my fellow Americans a happy Thanksgiving, and blessings to our esteemed non-American readers as well.
A special Happy Thanksgiving to the wonderful South African families who are today celebrating their second Thanksgiving because of my influence. You honor me and my country. God bless each of you. Ndiya kuthanda.
And to a very special friend who is traveling again as I write this - you know who you are - Godspeed, and I hope there is enough cake left to take a picture of for you. There probably won't be, since I have already started eating it.