A Thanksgiving Day

Sparta /
| 18 Nov 2022 | 02:46

One of the most revered days on the calendar is Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving in the USA has been designated as taking place on the fourth Thursday of November; this year Thanksgiving falls on November 24, 2022.

As an older lifetime resident of Sussex County, the author has an opportunity to look back on the many years here. There is wonder and memories during the time of Thanksgiving.

Several states had promoted their role in the early colonial period from about 1620, Massachusetts and Virginia to name them, and other states took part in Autumn celebrations. President Abraham Lincoln set a national Thanksgiving by proclamation for the final Thursday in November during which time to celebrate all the bounties that had blessed the Union during the gruesome time of the Civil War. He had called on the American people, “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience ... fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation.” And the nation did heal, albeit during a lengthy recovery.

Another time during which our nation suffered again in a horrible war, World War II, and just after the terror and shock of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on Dec. 26, 1941, signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the official national Thanksgiving Day to the fourth Thursday beginning in November of the next year, 1942.

While we have issues, problems and dilemmas in today’s world, this occasion is a good time to pause, recollect our treasures, both personal and corporate, and enjoy and appreciate family, friends, and our neighbors. The leaves have fallen, the cold winds now blow, and snow is predictably on the way.

Looking back on our history, my own stories contain the joy of a few days off from school, the beginning of basketball practice in high school, when in college expecting the cherished return back to my home and family, and a trip next door to Grampop’s for our little clan to get together and perhaps hear stories from cousin John on his return from service in Viet Nam, and Uncle Jesse’s recall of his deadly episodes in the US Navy in the Pacific—Doolittle’s Raid, Battle of Midway and hard fought times at Guadalcanal.

When younger, there were the homecomings as a college student and gathering with other 20-something boys to play tackle football on the worn surface of Ungerman Field in Sparta and return for Thanksgiving dinner cold and covered in bruises and mud.

For many years until the 1980s Sussex County teams would have their final games, the grudge matches in many ways. Franklin High School’s archrivals were the Newton Braves.

For me, the warmth of my Sussex County home, the pleasure of the mountains and valleys unfolding before me, is certainly reassuring of the goodness that we have here. I hope you all will be happy, healthy and share good times with family and friends.