Thanksgiving, the Result of One Woman's Persistence

"Thanksgiving Day: A national holiday in the United States commemorating the harvest of the Plymouth Colony in 1621, following a winter of great hardship" is the official description of holiday.

Did you know that it was not always so? When it was first inaugurated, Thanksgiving was a rather insignificant event with only a few eastern states participating. Did you know that the change was made mainly through the determined crusade of one woman? Sarah Hale was determined to have the whole nation united in setting aside a national day for giving thanks to Him from whom all blessings flow.

With this as her goal, she wrote many articles and letters to the various newspapers and journals of her time. In addition, she pleaded long and hard with Presidents Fillmore, Pierce, and Buchanan from 1846 through 1856. Her first measure of triumph occurred in 1852 when the campaign succeeded in uniting 29 states in marking the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day.

Then came the Civil War. Who would listen to a lone woman with her persistent plea for "just one day of peace amidst the blood and strife"? One man did. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln officially proclaimed the last Thursday of November as the day set apart for the national giving of thanks unto Almighty God.

As we sit at our bountiful tables with family and friends, let us remember to give thanks to God for our many blessings, and remember that by the tireless efforts of one person, the observance of Thanksgiving Day became a reality.

© 1997 by Orthodox Family Life and the original author(s).
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