A Thanksgiving Offering

November 21st, 2023 by Tom Lynch

This is Thanksgiving week. As we all know, the first Thanksgiving happened in 1621 when the English Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people shared a three-day harvest feast in mutual harmony. As we also all know, the harmony wouldn’t last much longer.

Following the writing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, the Continental Congress proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving. After that, various states sometimes celebrated days of Thanksgiving, but it wasn’t until the editor of the popular magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book, Sarah Josepha Hale, campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day to promote unity that the holiday began to gather steam. She won the support of President Abraham Lincoln, and on 3 October 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26.

The holiday was annually proclaimed by every president thereafter, and the date chosen, with few exceptions, was the last Thursday in November. President Franklin Roosevelt, following a joint resolution of Congress, issued a proclamation in 1942 designating the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. And that’s the way it’s been ever since.

I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday (Veterans Day is right up there with it, though). All about family and friends, Thanksgiving is the least commercial holiday in our highly commercial society.

At our Thanksgiving dinner, each member of my family, like so many others, takes a moment to describe what they are most thankful for. It’s always a touching and loving moment.

But Thanksgiving is also about giving, and in this week of Thanksgiving, 2023, I have a gift for you.

Following the horrific September 11, 2001, attack on America, I, like everyone else, wanted to do something, anything that might help. So, I did what I could. I wrote an anthem.

Recorded at Worcester’s renowned Mechanics Hall with classical guitarist Peter Clemente accompanying, I used the piece to help raise money for New York City firefighters who had suffered tremendous losses that day trying to rescue and save whoever they could.

Now, thinking about the awful battle unfolding between Israel and Hamas following Hamas’s barbaric invasion, it occurred to me that my anthem might once again be helpful, and so I offer it to all who are hurting, even despairing, over the terrible situation in which so many innocents have died or been forever changed.

Peace be with you.