by Sen. Mark Messmer
Each November, our nation celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday, bringing friends and family together to honor our heritage and celebrate our many blessings.
Thanksgiving has been celebrated across the nation since George Washington issued a proclamation in 1789, urging Americans to give the Lord “sincere and humble thanks.”
It wasn’t until 1863, however, that Thanksgiving became a national holiday. Abraham Lincoln first proclaimed that Thanksgiving be celebrated annually, inviting all Americans to observe the day “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father.” Even in the midst of the Civil War, which tore families apart and drastically divided our nation, Lincoln wanted Americans to remember the gracious gifts bestowed upon them.
Thanks to the spirit of the American people and the courage of those serving in our armed forces, our nation has overcome a number of struggles over the years. On this Thanksgiving holiday, I would specifically like to thank the men and women who serve in our military. Without them, one of our biggest blessings, our freedom, would not exist.
As we give thanks this week, each family has traditions that bring them peace and comfort.
My family and I gather, like many Americans, to enjoy a delicious meal of turkey, pumpkin pie and other holiday favorites. After eating, we decorate for the Christmas season, hanging lights up outside and setting up our trees inside. Most importantly, Kim and I enjoy the company of our children and grandchildren.
I encourage you to remember those who are mourning the loss of a loved one, or struggling to provide for their family this Thanksgiving. Share your joy with them. Show them they are not alone and even in midst of hardship there is a reason to be grateful.
God bless you all and have a Happy Thanksgiving.