If you've got time to read this blog, you're probably not hosting Thanksgiving this year. The rest of us are busy putting leaves on tables, getting out the good dishes or at least enough paper plates to feed the troops, and taking stock of the menu. If you’re waitstaff, you probably don’t have the day off. If you’re in retail, you’re stocking shelves before the Black Friday rush.
While we run around either preparing for or participating in the annual feast and everything that goes with it, let’s give a moment to thank the woman who was responsible. I don’t think Sarah Josepha Hale had restaurants and Christmas sales in mind when she devoted part of her life to the establishment of a national day of thanks. Her plans were more idealistic.
Sarah’s father, Gordon Buell, had fought in the American Revolution under George Washington. She grew up not only hearing stories about the famous hero, but admiring anything our first president stood for. He had proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving during his presidency and Sarah decided that his proclamation should one day be the law of the land.
Later, Sarah achieved a measure of fame herself as the first woman magazine editor in the United States, and as a well-known author. She used her fame to reach out to other presidents and urge them to follow Washington’s lead.
It was not until the Civil War, however, that she was successful. Abraham Lincoln agreed with Mrs. Hale and proclaimed a day of thanks in the middle of our national conflict. It would take nearly another century before Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the national holiday into law.
Young Talon Douglas does a fabulous job of summing up the story with the help of his siblings and some friends. Stop mashing the potatoes, make yourself a cup of tea, and take a minute to watch: