This week marks our oldest of traditions, dating back to 1621, Thanksgiving.
This is representative Rick Mason of Lisbon with a Thanksgiving message from the Maine House Republicans.
In spite of all that we are experiencing, Mainers and Americans have so much to be thankful for. We are truly lucky to be here in this great state, living in the greatest country on earth.
Now is a time to reflect on gratitude and the importance of being grateful. We are grateful for our families and friends, grateful for our liberty, and grateful for a loving God who makes it all possible.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that unites us all. It is older than our great republic and reminds us that our differences are not so great. In that first Thanksgiving, pilgrims seeking freedom from religious persecution came to a new land and broke bread with the Native Americans that helped them to survive that first winter, giving thanks for life and the human capacity for compassion.
Even during periods of great upheaval, as Americans we have paused to give thanks for all that we have.
In his first year in office (1789), President George Washington declared a “Day of Thanksgiving.” In it, he recognized the need to be thankful for the mercies shown to our young country.
It wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln issued his now famous Thanksgiving Proclamation establishing the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving. The Proclamation was delivered in the midst of the American civil war. Three months earlier, some 51,000 people died at Gettysburg over a three day period.
In his address, President Lincoln called upon the “Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
While our country’s politics may be polarized, we still have so much to be thankful for as Americans.
We can be thankful for family, friends, neighbors and the country we live in. Our gratitude for the many blessing that we share can be extended to others throughout the year.
We would do well to remember what President John F. Kennedy wrote in a Thanksgiving Proclamation issued just days before his death, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”
This is Representative Rick Mason, thank you for listening. On behalf of all of us, please have a Happy Thanksgiving.