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Welcome to my story blog. I will post one new story here every day. You are welcome to comment on any or all of them. Enjoy!
                   --Lee Pound

Day 93 - A Truly Important Thanksgiving

As we gathered around the table today to celebrate Thanksgiving, I thought back to an earlier Thanksgiving Day that truly had power and meaning.

It’s become a ritual. Buy the turkey, get ready for the big sales the day after, have the family over, eat a large meal, and go to bed stuffed. We seem to have lost the true meaning of the day. As you read this story, think back over today, or yesterday, and ask yourself how many things you had to be thankful for and how many of those you acknowledged on this day of giving thanks.

So let me take you back to that earlier Thanksgiving. I was there but I don’t remember the day because I was too young, just 4 months old. I do know that there was a Thanksgiving dinner and that all of my family was there. The day was Thursday, November 22, 1945.

What did we have to be thankful for on that day? For our family, first of all, my Dad was home from the war. He served most of the war as a staff photographer in Chico, California. However, after the Germans surrendered and we got ready to invade Japan, he was transferred to Florida to get ready for active duty in the Pacific. He remembers that he was on the train when news of the atomic bomb and then Japan’s surrender came through. By October he was released from duty and was home for good.

For the nation, we celebrated winning the worst war in the history of mankind. In Harry S Truman’s proclamation of Thanksgiving Day that year, he gave thanks for the defeat of Japanese militarism and German fascism. Many soldiers were home for Thanksgiving but many more remained on duty in Germany and Japan and many other countries around the world.

For the world, the end of the most destructive war ever was an occasion for celebration. The United Nations had been formed in August of that year and held promise of preventing such a deadly war from ever happening again. Whether that promise has been achieved is up to the historians. However, in November 1945 a new world seemed to be emerging from the darkness and destruction of the old one. Hope was tempered by apprehension as it became clear that the Soviet Union might attempt to hold on to Eastern Europe.

Around tables in every city, town and village in America, we celebrated the return of our soldiers, our brothers, fathers, sons, daughters, wives, and mothers from war and we thanked the millions of soldiers, both American and foreign, who had given their lives that this celebration might take place. Truly in every home there were prayers of thanks.

There were no Black Friday sales the next day. In most cases people went back to work, their heads held high, thankfulness still consciously felt, determined to make a better life for themselves and their families.

As we look back on this Thanksgiving Day, let’s ask ourselves whether the promise of that day 65 years ago has been met. Let’s remember that this day was not about getting to bed early for the sale the next day. It was and is about acknowledging those who came before us who made and continue to make our freedom possible. It is also about acknowledging the personal things each of us has to be thankful for as well.

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