Families will gather around the table in the spirit of thankfulness on the fourth Thursday in November. Since the first Thanksgiving meal the Pilgrims held in Plymouth, Mass., in 1621, this special meal celebrated a great harvest and expression of gratitude for all the blessings bestowed on one’s life.
Although Thanksgiving traditions and perhaps the meal has changed since President George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789 and later declared a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln, a majority Americans pause to share a Thanksgiving meal with another person.
In today’s chaotic world it is often easy to get caught in the drama we call life. It is easy to just go through the motion of Thanksgiving. It is easy not to take a pause and reflect on what the holiday traditionally represents.
The Pilgrims, along with their wise Native American teachers, grew the food eaten during the first harvest celebration. For them, the journey of the food from the farm to the table was the celebration. Faced with starvation, celebrating harvest was celebrating the basic needs just to survive.
America’s farmers and ranchers, along with their agriculture allies, have an emotional connection with a season of thankfulness and the first American farmers. The trials and tribulations to get food from farm to table may differ, but the deep bond with the land and the ability to harvest plants and animals each year is not taken for granted.
So, as you gather around the Thanksgiving table for your special feast, don’t forget to count your blessings. Through this harvest celebration gallery, I invite you to see why you should count farmers twice.