The holidays are a polarizing time of year that either makes people jolly or humbug. A growing minority of people nowadays shun the holiday rush of cooking and shopping for trips to exotic locations or some other original alternative.
Nevertheless, Thanksgiving is the grandfather of family gathering holidays and will always be celebrated in some form or fashion. The turkey and/or ham dinner with all the sides complete with incoming siblings, cousins, in-laws and uninvited guests are either a joy, a pain or a weird mixture of both.
For the majority, the holidays remain a time honored tradition complete with all trimmings of enjoying good food, family and friends while celebrating each other. According to a 2014 article on gallup.com, a 2013 poll showed the happiest day of 2013 was on Thanksgiving Day “with 70% of Americans reporting that they felt a lot of happiness and enjoyment without a lot of stress and worry.”
Thanksgiving has remained one of the top three happiest days since 2008 according to the article, which is followed closely by Memorial Day and Christmas Day. Throughout the country, Thanksgiving sees an outpouring of organizations, companies and individuals giving time, money and produce to the less fortunate. Countless families are able to celebrate the holiday due to the kindness of strangers.
Against the backdrop of a post 9/11 atmosphere with heavily guarded airports, terrorist threats and suspicious packages, people aren’t willing to forsake the holiday for fear. People will brave bad weather, attitudes and traffic all so they can gather at the table and be grateful, which bring us to the whole point of the day—gratitude.
On social media, some folks took the time to share what they are most grateful for this
Thanksgiving. Here is what some had to say:
“Thankful my mother taught me to cook!” said Lorelei B.
“Life health and strength,” said Tanisha Y.
“I’m thankful God blessed me and my family to see another Thanksgiving,” Diane C.
“Thankful for life,” said Marie C.
Some of our elected officials from throughout SoCal wanted to share what Thanksgiving means to them. Here is what they had to say:
“I am thankful for all of the wonderful parents and friends The Creator has blessed us with,” said Pasadena councilman, John J. Kennedy.
“I am thankful that God has allowed my childhood dream to come pass and that’s to serve the residents of Carson,” said Carson City Councilman, Jawane Hilton.
“What I am most thankful for is the love of my family and friends,” said Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer Chair of CLBC. “My children inspire me, they drive me to fight for a better tomorrow for them and for our community and all of the citizens of California. They remind me every day of just how blessed I am.”
“My mother, she motivates me to continue to live a life of service to care and fight for others just as she has always fought for me. And my friends they make me laugh, they keep me grounded and they remind me of how far we have come, but yet how far we still must go.”
“I’m definitely grateful for all that God has done in and through my life,” said Compton Mayor Aja Brown. “I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve the people of the great city of Compton and for my loving husband and supportive family that make it possible!”
“One of the things that I am thankful for is the millions of African Americans who have come out and supported Taste of Soul over the years,” said Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. Publisher of L.A. Sentinel/L.A. Watts Times.
“Together, we have laughed, we have danced, we have prayed and we have eaten all in the spirit of fun, family, love and respect. But more importantly we have supported our own, we have supported Black businesses and shown a pride for OUR community that few believe exist. Some said ‘it could not be done’, but for 10 years we have shown the world that ‘WE CAN’ because we believe in each other, we love each other and we will always ‘Be Beautiful Together!’
“And this I am thankful for.”
History at times reflects the darker nature of the Thanksgiving with images of Native Americans being duped by colonizers, the commercialization of Black Thursday and Friday and the general malaise of the holidays.
The time has come to reflect on what Thanksgiving is really about—giving thanks and being grateful for all that we have and not taking it for granted.