What are you grateful for?

Are you glad you’re able to spend time with family or friends this Thanksgiving? Or maybe you’re thankful for being employed and being in good health. 

Whatever the reason, today is the day to offer thanks for all that you have and all that you value — it’s a tradition that started in 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared a fall harvest feast.

They celebrated another Thanksgiving in 1623, which marked the end of a long drought that had threatened the previous year’s harvest, which, in turn, prompted Gov. Bradford to call for a religious fast.

For more than two centuries, individual colonies and states celebrated some type of day for thanksgiving.

George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States in 1789, in which he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy ending to the country’s war of independence and the US Constitution being successfully ratified. James Madison and John Adams, his successors, also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.

New York became the first of several states to adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday. Then in 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

Finally, in the midst of the Civil War in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that each November, a national Thanksgiving Day would be acknowledged on the last Thursday in November and the rest, as they say, is history.

These days, we gather with friends and family each Thanksgiving to celebrate a day of togetherness and to be thankful for many things.

We, at the Antelope Valley Press, are grateful to you, our readers. We wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.

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