We are far removed from the days of Native Americans celebrating harvest festivals. It has also been hundreds of years since the English colonists celebrated thanksgiving as part of their religion or giving thanks to Native Americans. In 2009, we still celebrate the day even though some Americans are more thankful than others.. . . To millions of average Americans this Thanksgiving Day is a day of unemployment, lack of insurance coverage, inability to pay mortgages and a day of stress like any other. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate rose to 10.2 percent in October. That is an increase of 558,000 persons out of work. Bringing the” official” unemployment total number to 15.7 million Americans.. . . Let’s hope, next year’s Thanksgiving will be a real “Thanksgiving” to those who are unable to make ends meet.Professor Mekonen HaddisThe preceding comment had a decidedly opposing tilt against the Obama administration, which does not take away from its value for me as a progressive, or for you the reader. I believe that Thanksgiving can actually be an idea where there is room for common ground and agreement along the range of the political spectrum. I received a couple of Emails I wish to cite. And I must note my bias. I take President and Mrs. Obama at their word. I believe in their sincerity and do not cynically view their messages as empty rhetoric. President Obama's Wednesday Email to constituents said this about the holiday:
. . . tomorrow is also a day to remember those who cannot sit down to break bread with those they love.The soldier overseas holding down a lonely post and missing his kids. The sailor who left her home to serve a higher calling. The folks who must spend tomorrow apart from their families to work a second job, so they can keep food on the table or send a child to school.We are grateful beyond words for the service and hard work of so many Americans who make our country great through their sacrifice. And this year, we know that far too many face a daily struggle that puts the comfort and security we all deserve painfully out of reach.So when we gather tomorrow, let us also use the occasion to renew our commitment to building a more peaceful and prosperous future that every American family can enjoy.The First Lady, Michelle Obama's Email emphasized remembering the needs of those who are hungry. To quote extensively:
The perspective that has emerged is that there is common ground for all of us. Blaming is not productive. Things are bad for lots of folks. We all need to work together to make them better. Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Oh, and one more thing. I will not be shopping today. Sorry. merchants.
Tomorrow, many of us will gather around the table with family and friends to give thanks over a feast of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy -- and let’s not forget pumpkin pie!But for some in this country, the feast will not be as bountiful. In fact, it won’t be much of a feast at all. Hunger is on the rise in America -- hitting its highest levels in nearly 15 years. A recent report released by the USDA reveals that in 2008 an estimated 1.1 million children were living in households that experienced hunger multiple times over the past year. To combat hunger this winter, we’re launching, in coordination with the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United We Serve: Feed a Neighbor initiative -- a program that empowers you with all the resources you need to mobilize against the hunger crisis in your community. Learn how you can get started today: Barack and I are committed to doing all we can to end hunger by making food programs more accessible to eligible families. But government can only do so much -- it will take all of us working together to put an end to hunger in America.
That’s why we’ve made it easy for you to get involved at Serve.gov. Find local volunteer opportunities like delivering meals to homebound seniors, offering your professional skills at a , or planting a and sharing produce with your neighbors. You can also create your own volunteer opportunity using our anti-hunger toolkit.This holiday season let’s recommit to serving our communities and working together to feed American families. Get started giving back today.