by Alan Ferdman
Over the past year or so, I have noticed a segment of our population whom have consistently bombarded mass media outlets with the message “everything we have understood about the United States being benevolent and forward looking is not true.” They want us to believe, since the United States was established, and did not practice the same level of progressive fairness they would have us practice today, our founders were racist and evil. They want to tear down the history of our country, and some claim if you are white, you should hate yourself.
Every holiday has become an opportunity for them to shame our country. A while ago, it was the attack on Columbus Day, because the United Nations said so. This month it was some celebrating un-Thanksgiving Day. One young author even wrote an op-ed claiming the Thanksgiving holiday was invented by Abraham Lincoln. But, since it sounded too much like Al Gore invented the internet, I decided to look into Thanksgiving more closely. Probably like most of you, I always remember the Grammar School version of the first Thanksgiving, when the Pilgrims celebrated their first good harvest. It should be easy to understand why the Pilgrims were so appreciative, because in those days, food did not come from the supermarket, and if you did not provide for yourself, you starved.
As it turns out, President George Washington issued a proclamation in 1789, stating in part: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God … both Houses of Congress have, … 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.”
Then in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday and issued, in part, the following proclamation. “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens … to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
So, as it turns out, the Thanksgiving holiday was thought of by Washington and Lincoln as a day to thank god for the food on our table, our country and our freedom. For myself, I am thankful for living in the United States, a country continually progressing to achieve the vision of our founders where “All men are created equal,” and all our citizens are provided the equal opportunity to achieve “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” I believe each person should celebrate their heritage and remember Dr. King’s words when he shared his dream, “that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” A dream which is shared by every parent in our great country.
On this past Thanksgiving Day, just like many years past, four generations of the Ferdman clan gathered at Grandma Pam’s table to celebrate Thanksgiving together. As I looked around the table, I recognized again just how blessed Pam and I are. From my 95 year young mother to my youngest grandchild, we are all in good health. My two sons have grown to be strong father figures, successfully providing for their families, and along with their wonderful wives are raising incredible children, all of whom are well behaved and doing great in school.
A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 75th Birthday. Now entering the fourth quarter of my life, I thought back about all the things I am personally thankful for. I remembered my wonderful New York grandparents, who took care of my mom and I when my father was off to war in Europe, and then again along with my brother when my father passed away. I am thankful for my mother who has always supported her three children, the Kaiser surgeon who fixed my birth defect, for Pam my wife of 54 years for putting up with me all that time, and for my wife and I stumbling on two companies, both of whom helped us improve ourselves and build a career. I am particularly thankful for having been able to give back to the community and I intend to continue to do so for many years to come. I am a proud American, one who is grateful for all god and our country has provided for me.
I hope you will all join me in rejecting all that is hateful, and embrace building a better future by always concentrating on the grateful side of life.