The record will show that it is a 19th century magazine editor named Sarah Josepha Hale who deserves the preponderance of credit for establishing Thanksgiving Day as our annual national celebration of gratefulness and gluttony.
Pilgrim honcho Miles Standish routinely gets all the hype, typical for the patriarchy.
However, it was Hale who convinced President Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the Civil War, to issue an order designating a day for a yearly, national “day of Thanksgiving and Praise.”
In a Sept. 28, 1863 letter to the President, Newsmaker Emeritus Hale noted that while previous presidents for 15 years had ignored her missives urging the move, the time then was right to “have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States. It now needs National recognition and authoritative fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution."
Honest Abe instantly agreed and, on Oct. 3, 1863 released a proclamation (drafted by Secretary of State William Seward) inviting his fellow citizens to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
So as we limber up to stuff our pie holes with multiple helpings of drumstick, dark meat, gravy, dressing, cranberry sauce and yams, we’ll also raise a glass, or perhaps 13 or 14, to the true mother of Thanksgiving.
Here’s to you, Sarah.
It also seems the right time to thank our audience of political players, City Hall insiders, journalistic hacks and hundreds of other viewers and readers for your support, encouragement, and other feedback in the first months of this enterprise. We plan to carry on providing unique, high quality content focused on our endlessly entertaining civic soap opera, and hope you’ll continue to check out our little outpost of local reporting, analysis, commentary and snark.
Not for the squeamish: In the spirit of celebration, we leave you with another walk down the memory lane of politics, with a reprise of the worst Thanksgiving photo op in history: Sarah Palin - ex-vice presidential nominee, former Alaska governor and iconic cultural harbinger of the whole Trump thing - speaking to a reporter after pardoning a turkey at a turkey farm in her home town of Wasilla in 2008 – while a dude in the background slaughters a turkey in some kind of weird poultry guillotine contraption. Gobble, gobble indeed.
Images: Pilgrim turkey (moziru.com); President Abraham Lincoln and Sarah Josepha Hale (Wall Street Journal); Report on Palin turkey slaughter (ABC News).