We reveal the truth behind the Thanksgiving
holiday. Every year Miss Suzie’s fourth-grade class
puts on feather headdresses and buckled hats to celebrate Thanksgiving traditions. This year she wants to teach her kids the
lesser known facts about Thanksgiving. Her students know that families sailed from
England in 1620 seeking religious freedom. The native people taught settlers how to grow
crops and when the harvest became plentiful, they thanked the gods with a three-day festival. Similar rituals are celebrated around the
world, but there are fascinating reasons why Thanksgiving became a federal holiday in the U.S. Miss Suzie explains how the first documented feast didn’t officially start the tradition,
and Thanksgiving wasn’t recognized until George Washington declared it in 1789. But that didn’t carry on and the ritual
was lost for years. Then, a 19th century writer named Sarah Josepha
Hale, famous for ‘Mary had a little lamb,’ read a pilgrims’ diary and was inspired
by their festivals of hunting and eating. She wrote to presidents for 30 years in an
effort to campaign for unity until finally Abraham Lincoln responded seeing it as a viable
plan for peace during the Civil War. Franklin D. Roosevelt tried moving Thanksgiving
up a calendar week during the Great Depression as an attempt to boost pre-Christmas sales. That only lasted for three years before fixing
the date to the last Thursday of November, where it remains today. In 1989 George H. Bush sent a turkey off to
retirement – never to be eaten. This new tradition dubbed ‘the pardoning
of the turkey’ is Miss Suzie’s favorite tradition.. She’s a vegetarian. Miss Suzie and her class are now learning
more about Sarah Josepha Hale, the true hero of Thanksgiving and celebrating with a vegetarian
feast. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Stephen Childs

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