- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 27, 2013

“The first thing we can thank God for this Thanksgiving is that we Americans still have Thanksgiving. This holiday, so bound up with our history and our traditions, is in danger. Most department stores have long since put up their Christmas — correction, holiday — decorations and filled the air with ‘Yuletide’ carols,” declares Bob Morrison, a senior fellow with the Family Research Council.

“With more and more national retail chains opening for business on Thanksgiving, we have to ask: Will Thanksgiving Day give way to ‘Black Thursday’ in years to come? Will it be no more than the kickoff for the season of year-end bargain-hunting? Will an unrelenting materialism drive out any time for home and hearth?”

THANKSGIVING ANSWER OF THE DAY

Indeed, there is much commercial hubbub surrounding the phenomenon that major stores will open Thursday. But a large number of Americans — convinced that a convivial table and family fellowship bests the bargains — “appear turned off by the idea,” says a new Rasmussen poll.

The new survey of 1,000 adults finds that just 8 percent admit “they are more likely to shop at a store that opens on Thanksgiving Day to get a jump on Black Friday deals.”

There is some pushback as well. Compromising family time with blockbuster sales may come with a price: 44 percent of the respondents also say they are “less likely to shop at a store that opens on the holiday,” while another 44 percent say that the new retail practice has no effect on them.

FROM BOTH SIDES OF THE AISLE

“This Thanksgiving Day, let us forge deeper connections with our loved ones. Let us extend our gratitude and our compassion. And let us lift each other up and recognize, in the oldest spirit of this tradition, that we rise or fall as one nation, under God,” President Obama advises in his Thanksgiving Day proclamation.

And from the Republican weekly address, delivered this week by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina: “Our American soldiers serve as some of the best ambassadors the United States could ever hope for. They are tough and determined, yet equally kind and compassionate. On this Thanksgiving, I want to express all of our appreciation — Republican, Democrat, independent — for the service of our men and women in uniform and their families.

“To the military spouse, who has to be both mom and dad, God bless. To the children of our military members, who have missed holidays and birthdays, God bless you. It is because of the bravery of our troops, and their willingness to endure tremendous hardships that we are able to be at home with our families this holiday season.”

THANKSGIVING FOR A STRONG AMERICA

A historical moment to ponder: a message to Americans on Thanksgiving Day 1944, from Winston Churchill, meant for the “bold, the loyal, the warm-hearted,” and those “in bivouacs and dugouts, on battlefields, on the high seas and in the highest air.” The prime minister made his remarks during a Thanksgiving dinner at Royal Albert Hall in London on Nov. 23, 1944.

“Always, this annual festival has been dear to the hearts of the American people. Always it has been that desire for Thanksgiving — and never I think, has there been more justification, more compulsive need for it, than now. It is your day of Thanksgiving,” Churchill said.

“When we feel the truth of the facts which are before us — that in three or four years the peaceful, peace-loving people of the United States, with all the variety and freedom of their life — in such contrast to the iron discipline which has governed many other communities,” Churchill began, then paused.

“When we see that in three or four years, the United States has in sober fact become the greatest military naval and air power in the world, that, I say to you, in this time of the world, is in itself, a subject for profound thanksgiving,” Churchill concluded, to thunderous applause.

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