There may be many of us who like to think that Thanksgiving has been faithfully celebrated each year since the pilgrims hit Plymouth Rock. Although it was an iconic event in American history, the annual celebration we commemorate today did not begin in 1621. The colonists had plenty of feasts to show their thanks, but those meals were used to celebrate harvests or war victories. Presidents such as George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison all declared a day of thanks during their terms to show gratitude during the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, but those holidays were never made into a tradition either.
On October 3, 1963, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln requested the last Thursday in November to be nationally celebrated and set aside for “Thanksgiving and Prayer to our Beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens…for such singular deliverance and blessings…”
The holiday has been recognized annually ever since but had its date changed once more in 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who signed a bill making the fourth Thursday in November the official day of Thanksgiving.
Today Thanksgiving has truly become an American tradition and is celebrated with more than just a wonderful meal. Aside from parades, the Presidential Proclamation, turkey pardoning, and football, there is also the presentation of giving the famous fowl to Mr. President for his own Thanksgiving dinner.