A heartfelt thanks on this special day

There is some debate over exactly when the first Thanksgiving was celebrated on our soil. Many trace it to a 1621 celebration in Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. That feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. It was, according to historians, actually celebrated between the Pilgrims and Indians.

It’s been going on ever since. The message is timeless: giving thanks for an array of reasons. And it isn’t just good harvests that are celebrated nowadays. We celebrate family and friends. We celebrate the kindness of strangers. We celebrate small and big things that occur in our lives. We celebrate smiles and sometimes even frowns. Whom do you wish to say “thanks” to? Think about it and then do it. Don’t assume they already know that you are grateful. Sometimes it ends up being too late. And, doesn’t it always feels good to be thanked? If you have to look around to think of someone or something to be thankful for today, c’mon, take the blinders off and open your range. It is out there, often closer than you sometimes might think.

We celebrate our prayers and we celebrate good fortune. We celebrate earning a paycheck and providing for loved ones. We endure all the bad and sad that inevitably comes in some shape or form in all of our lives with some kind of acceptance, often through staunch faith. We accept that no life is perfect and no life was ever promised to be perfect.

We visit cemeteries and we visit the inner sanctions of our hearts and souls to celebrate loved ones who have passed. They may be gone but the memories–goodness, all those memories!–will live forever.

We celebrate the awe and wonderment in the sparkling eyes of an infant and the unspoken wisdom coming through the eyes of the elderly. Be thankful for our children. They are our future makers. Be thankful for our seniors. They were history makers — the shapers of this great land of ours. Be thankful for the freedom that allows you to sit down today with family to eat a sumptuous (and usually too filling!) meal and perhaps catch a game on the TV. Or, better yet, play a pick-up game of football in the backyard with the kids and grandkids. Thank your newspaper carriers who had to lug extra-sized editions around, stuffed with holiday inserts. Thank, truly thank, police officers. Cops have had it bad in our society and it is unwarranted. They serve you. And they do it very well around here. Thank all of those have to work today, many getting ready for Black Friday although that apparently has morphed, sigh, into Thanksgiving Day itself.

Enjoy gobbling down the turkey and all the trimmings. Save room for some pie. Forget the diet for a day. Forget about politics for a day (if that is actually possible!) For those keeping up with the tradition of breaking the wishbone–a tradition that came to us from the English, who got it from the Romans, who got it from the Etruscans thousands of years ago — have fun with that and here’s hoping your special wish comes through.

In 1775 the Continental Congress created the first national Thanksgiving celebration. It became a federal holiday in 1863 via proclamation by President Abraham Lincoln. The practice of pardoning two turkeys on Thanksgiving — those lucky birds! — began with President Harry Truman. The Macy’s parade tradition began in 1924 with helium-filled balloons coming in 1927. Thanksgiving is always celebrated in the United States on the final Thursday of November.

The Pilgrims had it right nearly 400 years ago. Be thankful. We should all take stock today and think of all the reasons to be grateful. Start a list and you will likely not finish it by the end of the day or at least by your second serving of pie. Happy thanksgiving from the Salem News staff to you and yours on this very special day. Thank you for supporting your community newspaper — we have served our fair city during all or parts of three centuries. Yes, that is a lot of printer’s ink! We are proud of that. Bring on the holiday season!

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