“Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for — annually, not oftener — if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians. Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man’s side, consequently on the Lord’s side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.”
? Mark Twain
It became an official Federal holiday in 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. [wikipedia]
So you must remember… in 1863 we stopped celebrating the extermination of native americans and started celebrating the way we killed each other… Something to be thankful for. Oh, yes… and with all the death and killing… we added more god relevance to it.
I’m not entirely sure what Thanksgiving used to mean to me, well, I am sure what it used to mean, but it doesn’t matter “today”… and I know, today, it becomes a new tradition for my family and I. I don’t care about the turkey, the food, the pie(s), the whatever. I just know I am thankful I now have a family to celebrate a new tradition with. My family. I’m thankful I am still alive and able to make a difference and cultivate meaning to my life.