America is not only a holiday unique to America, it is a holiday uniquely American. That is, Thanksgiving, both in its meaning and in its history, represents America at its best, America as it always should be.
Thanksgiving is a holiday centering around family, patriotism, and pious gratitude to God, with a history involving the inspirational acts of racially diverse individuals of both sexes.
It began, of course, with the Pilgrims, with the Native American Indians and Europeans coming together to thank the God who made them both and to enjoy a communal feast. Then, in 1789, the father of his country, George Washington, called for the first national Thanksgiving day:
“Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks…
[A]nd also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people.”
In the true republican spirit, Washington specifically reminded Americans that here we have only one king, one “Ruler,” God.
Then, in 1863, following a letter from elderly magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale urging an established national Thanksgiving holiday, Abraham Lincoln and his secretary of State, William Seward, proclaimed the holiday we know today. Their proclamation, later sold to benefit the Union troops fighting to reunite America and end slavery, said:
“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving, surrounded by those you love!