Last week the epic movie Lincoln was released in the United States. My husband, a historian and huge fan of Doris Kearns Goodwin whose book Team of Rivals contributed greatly to the screenplay of the movie, went to see it last weekend! But what does this movie have to do with Thanksgiving, you ask? First, many families go to movies over the long Thanksgiving holiday, and I strongly recommend this one—you actually learn something about our history and that political intrigue is not a modern phenomena !
Second, Sarah Josepha Hale, an American magazine editor and author of the children’s rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” persuaded Abraham Lincoln to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday!
So on October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until December 26, 1941 that Congress passed a law ensuring that all Americans would celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
Since 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey and two dressed turkeys to the President. The President does not eat the live turkey. He “pardons” it and allows it to live out its days on a historical farm.
On a final note, if you are inclined to deep fry your turkey be sure to read some of the safety tips on our popular BLOG from last year! On behalf of all of us at the Women’s Health Research Institute, we wish you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!