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Personal Message from Rep. Bob Rommel
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday!  The aromas wafting about the house as the turkey and dressing are roasting in the oven.  The cheers and groans that can be heard from those watching the football games on the big screen TVs. The sounds of laughter as cousins renew friendships with each other.

Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for friends and family to gather together around the table for great food and fellowship.  After the meal, belts are loosened and those who are wearing stretch pants are thankful for their "plan ahead thinking."

It's also a time to reflect on all of the blessings each of us has received.  Our Founding Fathers believed that there were certain "natural rights given by God to humanity. They considered these rights to be "natural" because they believed that these rights were universal and could not be taken away by any government for any reasons.  Our Declaration of Independence states: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."  

I am thankful every morning when I awaken that I live in this country.  I am blessed to be an American.  Happy Thanksgiving!
Bob Rommel
State Representative - District 106
  Thanksgiving Day 
7 Facts You May Not Know About The History of Thanksgiving
By Emma Mason, Digital Editor at 

1.     When was the first Thanksgiving?

Tradition has it that the first Thanksgiving – a celebration of good harvest – took place in 1621, when English Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts shared a meal with their Native American neighbors. However, historian Michael Gannon argues that the first Thanksgiving celebration in North America actually took place half a century earlier, in Florida.

On 8 September 1565, he says, following a religious service, Spaniards shared a communal meal with the local native tribe.

2.     When Thanksgiving became a public holiday

According to the US National Archives, on 28 September 1789 the first Federal Congress passed a resolution asking that the president of the United States recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving. A few days later, George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday 26 November 1789 as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin” – the first time Thanksgiving was celebrated under the new Constitution.

The dates of Thanksgiving celebrations varied as subsequent presidents came and went, and it wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation – in the midst of the Civil War – that Thanksgiving was regularly commemorated each year on the last Thursday of November.

3.     Why did the dates of Thanksgiving change?

The US National Archives says that in 1939, with the last Thursday in November falling on the last day of the month, Franklin D Roosevelt became concerned that the shortened Christmas shopping season might dampen economic recovery. He therefore issued a Presidential Proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November.

Some 32 states consequently issued similar proclamations, but 16 states refused to accept the change. As a result, for two years two days were celebrated as Thanksgiving.

To end the confusion, on 6 October 1941 Congress set a fixed date for the holiday: it passed a joint resolution declaring the last Thursday in November to be the legal Thanksgiving Day.

4.     The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is televised nationally on NBC, has been marching since 1924. That year, the department store’s president, Herbert Strauss, organised a six-mile procession from Harlem to the Macy’s store in Herald Square. The parade featured animals – including elephants – from the Central Park Zoo, and was nearly three times as long as it is today: for the purposes of television filming, the route was later reduced to 2.5 miles.

Balloons float down Broadway in the 13th annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, 25 November 1937. (Photo by Walter Kelleher/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

5.   Turkey hasn’t always been on the menu at Thanksgiving

While turkey is today the bird of choice for Thanksgiving dinners across the United States, this was not always the case: according to, for the first ever Thanksgiving in 1621 the Indians killed five deer as a gift for the colonists, meaning venison would most likely have been the dish of the day.

Vintage illustration of a husband and wife pulling the wishbone of a turkey for good luck at Thanksgiving dinner; screen print, 1942. (Photo by GraphicaArtis/Getty Images)

6.     Why does the president of the USA pardon a turkey at Thanksgiving?

Each Thanksgiving, the president of the United States ‘pardons’ a hand-selected turkey, sending it to a farm where it lives out the rest of its days. But, contrary to popular belief, President George H.W. Bush was not in 1989 the first president to grant such a pardon.

According to the White House, the tradition dates to Abraham Lincoln’s days, when his son Tad begged him to write a presidential pardon for the bird meant for the family’s Christmas table, arguing it had as much a right to live as anyone. Lincoln complied, and the turkey lived.

Bread and Butter, pictured here in their hotel room at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, D.C., were pardoned by President Trump on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

7.     The tradition of American football on Thanksgiving

Each Thanksgiving, millions of Americans tune in to watch the Detroit Lions play American Football. This tradition dates to 1934, when the team took on the undefeated, defending World Champion Chicago Bears of George Halas. Despite losing the inaugural game, since then the Lions have played football every Thanksgiving except between 1939 and 1944.

Copyright © 2019 State Representative Bob Rommel, All rights reserved.

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