Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!!

There are so many wonderful things about this day, and I just want to wish everyone the warmest of wishes.

And today, of all days, we will most likely be feasting on Turkey. So, let's look at the nutritional properties of this bird that Ben Franklin wanted to become our national bird!!

Turkey is a very good source of selenium, which is fundamentally important to optimal health. It is an essential component of several major metabolic pathways, including thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function.

More and more evidence on animal models of cancer have suggested a strong inverse correlation between selenium intake and cancer incidence -- eat more selenium, get less cancer.

For the full story on turkey and nutrition, you have to visit this site.

But if you just want a quick snapshot, check out the chart below:

The Original George Dubya

Before Thanksgiving was a national holiday, it had to be assigned as one, each year, by an act of congress. Can you imagine?

While this may seem like a Parlimentary Pain in the Pantaloons (and I'm certain it was), one good aspect about it was that each President -- in this case Washington himself -- listed the things they were thankful for.

I like that.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:

"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 for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted' for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And 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 by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd day of October, A.D. 1789.
G. Washington

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Congress Gives Thanksgiving Official Stamp

There was a lot to be grateful for, in 1782. With the help of France (who loved us because they hated England ... the enemy of my enemy is my friend), we won. We beat the unbeatable nation and stood isolated by oceans and united in our determination to gut it out here in the wilderness, and make it work.

So the Congress took up the pen and made an official day of Thanksgiving to God.

It is weary prose to read, but very interesting. Also, this was not a proclamation for a standing National Holiday, but a one-off, that had to be repeated each year.

IT being the indispensable duty of all Nations, not only to offer up their supplications to ALMIGHTY GOD, the giver of all good, for his gracious assistance in a time of distress, but also in a solemn and public manner to give him praise for his goodness in general, and especially for great and signal interpositions of his providence in their behalf:

Therefore the United States in Congress assembled, taking into their consideration the many instances of divine goodness to these States, in the course of the important conflict in which they have been so long engaged; the present happy and promising state of public affairs; and the events of the war, in the course of the year now drawing to a close; particularly the harmony of the public Councils, which is so necessary to the success of the public cause; the perfect union and good understanding which has hitherto subsisted between them and their Allies, notwithstanding the artful and unwearied attempts of the common enemy to divide them; the success of the arms of the United States, and those of their Allies, and the acknowledgment of their independence by another European power, whose friendship and commerce must be of great and lasting advantage to these States:-----

Do hereby recommend to the inhabitants of these States in general, to observe, and request the several States to interpose their authority in appointing and commanding the observation of THURSDAY the twenty-eight day of NOVEMBER next, as a day of solemn THANKSGIVING to GOD for all his mercies: and they do further recommend to all ranks, to testify to their gratitude to GOD for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness.

Done in Congress, at Philadelphia, the eleventh day of October, AD 1782.

JOHN HANSON, PresidentCharles Thomson, Secretary

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

First Pilgrim Proclamation of Thanksgiving

On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts met to decide how best to express thanks for the good fortune that had seen their community securely established.

By unanimous vote they instructed Edward Rawson, the clerk, to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving. That proclamation is reproduced here in the same language (and spelling) as the original.

Basically, the Pilgrims had been sent out of England because the politics no longer agreed with their religion. After ample death, starvation, and disease, it seemed like the remnants were finally getting on their feet. They hoped they had turned a corner and, for that basic survival, they wanted to show thanks.

It is interesting to read this (below), to see their antipathy toward the "Heathen Natives" with whom they were at "Warr", and the fact that it was these very Enemies who saved them by showing these foreiners how to plant, reap, and prosper.

History is in no short supply of irony.

"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness, yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion, and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:

The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers, Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service unto God by Jesus Christ."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Week starts with "Mary Had A Little Lamb"

Throughout Thanksgiving week, we will be talking about our traditions, trivia, and even turkey nutrition.

You may not know this, but had it not been for the author of the poem "Mary had a little lamb", we may not have Thanksgiving at all!!

This person essentially pestered the President with eloquence until she finally got (what I believe is) our best holiday enshrined as a national day.

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