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In the US, anyway
This iconic image is often associated with Thanksgiving, but it really isn’t. It’s part of Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” series, made to commemorate the “Four Freedoms” proclaimed by President Roosevelt on 6 January 1941. Of course, Rockwell painted another, more poignant Thanksgiving image a few years later….
Of FDR and Thanksgiving, more below.
Proclamations of "thanksgiving" were common in Britain for survival from floods, wars, famines, larger fires, plagues or invasions. In the American colonies, there are well-known stories of a "first Thanksgiving" being celebrated by the Pilgrim Fathers and their Native American neighbors (surely at least some of my readers were turkeys or lobsters or something in at least one school pageant). Records are scarce, but most historians agree that as early as 1621, there was a feast in October or November where much food was consumed in company with some Native Americans. As early as 1631, someone was declaring some fall day a holiday somewhere in America, mostly in New England.
No record, however, of football being played, or of Uncle Absalom imbibing in too much porter and trying to dunk Aunt Prudence in the river.
On 3 October 1789, George Washington (who had become president just that February) proclaimed that Thursday, 26 November, should be "a day of public thanksgiving." There is some speculation about why they chose a Thursday to be a day of thanks separate from a day of worship, and why November. In some parts of the new republic, harvesting could last, in good years, at late as mid-November, but no one thought too much of it at the time. By the American Civil War, the Thanksgiving tradition had died out in parts of the country, or had moved from November to as early as October (following several of the Canadian provinces, which had and still have different dates). On 3 October 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that fixed Thanksgiving as the last Thursday in November. Most southern states paid no attention until after Reconstruction in the 1870s.
Thanksgiving had become the beginning of the Christmas shopping season as early as the 1880s (yes, Virginia, that insanity really started that early in history).
The holiday remained there until 1941, when Franklin Roosevelt, after much lobbying by the larger commercial outlets and the labor unions, fixed the day as the fourth Thursday as a goad to the economy, and as a tool to manage factory scheduling. They traditionally performed factory tooling improvements during a "holiday shutdown" between Christmas and New Year's. Moving the Thanksgiving holiday earlier for most years allows for vacations before the shutdown for maintenance crews, adds as much as another week of "shopping days" till Christmas, and even more time for the mass media to saturate their audiences with ads for the same thing.
To all my readers, a blessed and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday.
CK ‘73 Update
As Barney has pointed out, the website registration is sub-par. If you can’t, for whatever reason, manage to register:
Try opening the website in incognito mode, then register, or…
Let Lucy or I know that you plan to attend, AND where you’re staying if you know yet and don’t live in the neighborhood.
Maybe that’ll work…maybe not. If it does, let me know…I somehow fixed it…
Pearl Harbor Reconsidered: Introduction
Pearl Harbor Reconsidered I: The Plan
On 25 November:
1905: A company called Electro Importing advertized a radio kit in Scientific American magazine. The battery-operated "Telimco Wireless Telegraph Outfit" was guaranteed to work up to one mile, and included a spark transmitter and a tapping-coherer receiver. This small ad is generally believed that this was the first-ever advertisement run by a company selling complete radio systems.
1941: A “war warning” was sent to US military unit commanders in the Pacific. The warning itself was unspecific, but they advised all commanders to watch out for saboteurs. At this time, Japan’s Kido Butai was making final preparations to weigh anchor for Pearl Harbor.
And today is INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN, like we need a reminder…