Turkey Day Tidbits
By Alex Carrier
Thursday is Thanksgiving and Americans are making last minute
preparations for the trip, the meal and the company. Here is a
cornucopia of Thanksgiving tidbits and trivia for your hoped for
Virginia natives and newcomers alike have a problem with the whole “official”
first Thanksgiving story. More than a few feathers are ruffled over the
Mayflower “come-latelys” and those pesky Plymouth pilgrims.
Popular history says the first Thanksgiving occurred at Plymouth
colony in 1621 when Governor William Bradford declared a day of
thanksgiving for the good harvest. Since the colonists’ Native American
neighbors taught the Pilgrims how to survive in the New World, the
Indians were invited to share in the feast.
While the story is accurate to a point, Virginians know Bradford and
the Plymouth Pilgrims were not the first to break bread with the Native
Americans in a feast of thanksgiving. A full year before the Mayflower
set sail for the New World, Virginia colonists held the
chronologically accurate first thanksgiving service on December 4,
1619. A present day brick gazebo marks the site at Virginia’s Berkeley
The true first Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Captain John
Woodlief as a day to be celebrated every year in thanks for the
colonists’ safe arrival.
In 1789, another Virginian first, President George Washington
proclaimed November 26th
as the official Thanksgiving Day. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln
declared the fourth Tuesday of November would be the official American
Thanksgiving Day 1939 got permanently connected to holiday shopping.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the holiday’s date to the third
Thursday in November in an effort to boost the economy by extending the
Christmas shopping season. In 1941, he moved it to the fourth Thursday
in November, which is now celebrated nationally as Thanksgiving Day.
You have the correct date for the first historical Thanksgiving and
know the present celebratory day so let’s introduce the real star of
show – the turkey?
If Ben Franklin had chosen the national bird, it would have been the
turkey rather than the bald eagle. Franklin considered the turkey to
have better morals than the eagle and to be a better representation of
the nation’s true moral character.
Although there have been numerous news reports of wild turkeys
attacking mailmen and chasing cars, I prefer to think of the bald eagle
as a better representation of a strong America.
Which brings me to this thought. If the turkey was the national bird,
would we be carving into it on Thanksgiving Day?
we be plucking feathers from the Bald (it’s a color not a lack of
feathers) Eagle instead? Luckily, Franklin lost the argument and we are
able to enjoy our Thanksgiving feast complete with all the trimmings and
From Boomer Journeys, Alex Carrier, Virginia Greene, Greene Lite and
the Port Dingle Blog; our sincere wish that you and your families have a
safe and happy Thanksgiving.