Giving thanks: Our character as a nation

Steve Stivers - U.S. Rep.

“Perhaps no custom reveals our character as a Nation so clearly as our celebration of Thanksgiving Day.” – Ronald Reagan, Thanksgiving Day 1986 Proclamation.

This week, we come together to observe all we are thankful for with family and friends. Going beyond the feasts, sports and parades, Thanksgiving begins the season of giving in our communities. While Thanksgiving has not always been recognized as a formal holiday, the idea of setting aside time to come together and give thanks has been part of our nation’s cultural history.

Throughout the American Revolution, the Continental Congress and George Washington issued proclamations for the country to set aside days of thanksgiving and prayer. These days were generally designated to celebrate major military victories against the British, such as the surrender of British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York in 1777.

Days of thanks continued after the war, despite not yet being recognized as a national holiday. It was not until a proclamation made by President Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War that Thanksgiving became a regular observance in November.

In 1941, Congress officially established Thanksgiving to be on the fourth Thursday of November, as we know it today. Since then, Thanksgiving has evolved into a season where Americans take the opportunity to spend time with family and help people in their communities.

In this spirit, my office is participating in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, where members of the community may drop off new, unwrapped toys to be delivered to children for the holidays. This program is just one small way we can give back to those who are less fortunate. For more information on how you can participate in Toys for Tots, please contact my Hilliard District Office at (614) 771-4968.

There is no doubt that Thanksgiving remains an important symbol of our country’s unity. As Reagan indicated in his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1986, there is no holiday that embodies the character of our nation like Thanksgiving because it brings out the best in us.

As you gather to celebrate this year, I hope you will reflect on the meaning of this holiday and how you can give back to our communities. I wish you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving.

As always, it is a pleasure to serve Ohio’s 15th Congressional District, and if you have questions or need help with any issues you may have with the federal government, please do not hesitate to contact my office in Washington D.C. at (202) 225-2015 or in Wilmington at (937) 283-7049.

Steve Stivers (R-OH) represents Ohio’s 15th Congressional District.

Steve Stivers

U.S. Rep.