What are you thankful for?

The 1st Thanksgiving

The 1st Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving what is it that you will be thankful for? Many of us will be thankful for our families, friends and jobs, but have you ever stopped to think how Thanksgiving, the actual holiday came about? To be honest, I know, like most of you the main story but never knew the little details that ended up really making the biggest impact in establishing our Thanksgiving Day Celebration.

The first acknowledged Thanksgiving is dated back to 1621, when it was celebrated individually by colonies and states. In 1621, Thanksgiving was not recognized as a holiday but more like a gathering. Pilgrims seeking a better life, a life without religious persecution, boarded the Mayflower for a pilgrimage to America. Pilgrims set ground on Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts on December 11th, 1620. After settling in Plymouth Rock the pilgrims faced a devastating winter, with the help of the native Indians 56 out of 102 pilgrims survived. To show thanks to the native Indians for helping them survive the winter, the Pilgrims held a feast which lasted three days. I don’t know about your family traditions, but my family always has the same food every year, the traditional turkey and pumpkin pies. The pilgrims feast didn’t include such food items, but had items like fish, berries, watercress, lobster, dried fruit, clams, plums and venison.

Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving Feast

After this first initial “feast” another one wasn’t held until the year of 1676. It wasn’t until October 1777 that all 13 colonies joined in the Thanksgiving celebration. In 1789 George Washington tried to establish a National Day of Thanksgiving, but attempting to do this led to much uproar and hardship. Many felt that the Pilgrims did not want a national holiday. When President Jefferson took office he opposed the idea of Thanksgiving all together. We can all give thanks to a lady named Sarah Hale whose efforts gave us our national Thanksgiving holiday. Sarah was a magazine editor who campaigned for the Thanksgiving holiday. She wrote letters to government officials, presidents and wrote editorials for over 40 years. In 1863 she was finally able to make this day a reality when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that the Thanksgiving holiday be held each November. Thanksgiving has been proclaimed by every president since and in 1941 Thanksgiving was finally declared a national American holiday by Congress and was to be celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November.

When learning the history of Thanksgiving Day it is amazing to realize how much effort it took to make it a national holiday. This year as we have all faced extremely challenging times let us all give thanks for the gifts we do have in our lives.

Honor our Heroes on Veterans Day (Nov. 11)

Veterans Day Parade

Veterans Day Parade

Veterans Day is a United States federal holiday which is celebrated on November 11th. It was put into place in 1919 by President Woodrow Wilson to honor all military members, past or present. The date, November 11 is significant because it is also the date that the Armistice was sign which ended World War I.

Today Veterans Day is celebrated with parades, flying flags and mini flags placed on memorials and military graves. There are many ways you can honor veterans on November 11th and every day of the year. These brave men and woman have risk their lives and many perished to protect our freedom. It is important that we never forget the sacrifices they have made so that we can have the quality of life that we do today as proud Americans.

American Flags Placed on Memorials

American Flags Placed on Memorials

Here are a few things you can do to make a difference in the lives of our Veterans:

• Visit a Veteran and ask to hear their story

• Write a Veteran or military member, tell them what your freedom means to you

• Visit a military spouse or family

• Visit a Veterans memorial, decorate with mini US flags or flowers

• Prepare a care package to be sent to military members who are currently serving
There are many organizations that send packages over seas to deployed troops. Check out AnySoldier.com

• Pray for those who are serving or reflect on the sacrifice that has been made

• Visit a VFW post

• Volunteer at a shelter

• Donate to disabled Veterans organizations

• Wear or display your yellow ribbons

• Attend a memorial parade or celebration. Check out vetfriends.com to search for an event near you

• Fly your American, military and support our troops flags!

There are many company and organizations for offer free meals and discounts for Veterans. Don’t forget to support your local companies that offer these benefits to our military members. Some of the 2009 companies that offered military discounts include:

Veterans Day Ceremony

Veterans Day Ceremony

Applebees

• McCormick & Schmick’s

Golden Corral

• Home Depot and Lowe’s

• Outback Steakhouse

Check out: military.com to get a list of companies that are offering discounts in 2010.

Veteran’s Day only happens once a year but support is needed year-round. Don’t forget that you can show your appreciation any time of the year. Visit Flag Expressions for all of your Veterans Day and American Made products!