While the first Thanksgiving Day feast occurred during the Pilgrims’ and Indians’ harvest celebration in the 1600s, it was President Abraham Lincoln who declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday.
The nation was torn by civil war, yet the President thought it fit to give thanks for America’s many blessings. “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies,” said Lincoln. “To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come…the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”
As I reflect on the true meaning of Thanksgiving, I can't help but recall fond memories from prior years. One of my favorites is a Thanksgiving gala performed several years back by my daughter's first grade class. All of the songs and costumes were great, but my favorite was a little song called: "Let's Have a Gratitude Attitude!"
Dressed as Pilgrims and Indians, the students would sing the chorus "let's have a gratitude attitude" together and then one of the students would step forward to tell the audience something specific for which they were grateful. Answers varied from "my Mom and Dad," to "Jesus," to "friends" to "my goldfish."
It was all in good fun. But, the song reminds us all that Thanksgiving is a time to look past our struggles, thank the Lord and remember all of the small things that make our lives great.
This Thanksgiving has particular meaning to the Messer family. We feel blessed by the opportunity to serve the people of Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, and we appreciate the trust that voters have placed in us.
While our nation’s economic and fiscal difficulties continue, the future of health care is uncertain and many dwell on what divides us in Congress instead of what unites us, let us never forget that America is a blessed country that has faced big challenges before.
The desire for freedom and the belief that government should not intrude on the everyday lives of its citizens are the very ideas that brought the Pilgrims to this land. These time-honored principles are the key to bringing prosperity back to our great country.
Working together, we can make a big difference for our state and our nation. So, enjoy time with family and friends during this holiday season. Then, let's get back to work the needed to move our country forward.