Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, the national holiday to give thanks and heal the wounds of the nation.
The first Thanksgiving is thought to be in November 1621, a year after the Pilgrims landed in the New World. After their first corn harvest proved successful, Gov. William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited their Native American allies — who had taught them how to cultivate the land — to join them.
The fourth Thursday of November became the official date of Thanksgiving in 1863, enacted by Abraham Lincoln after a 36-year campaign by Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor and writer, author of the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
Hale had published numerous editorials and sent many letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians to establish a national holiday of Thanksgiving.
Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to move the holiday up a week in 1939 in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression, but it was met with opposition and moved back to the fourth Thursday of the month in 1941.
In the Willamette Valley, we have a lot to be grateful for. We live in a great country and a beautiful valley, where pretty much anything will grow in our gardens and neighbors care for each other.
It’s not perfect, of course. We have our struggles and hardships. But for one day, take a moment and be thankful for what we have rather than what we don’t.
We have some giant hearts here in Polk County, and this year we’ve started a new series titled, “Community Champions,” where we get to highlight and honor those people who stand up and say “yes” to volunteer opportunities.
We know there are many more who give with no thought of return, and hope to share their stories with you in the future.