Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. American teachers tell us that we created the holiday to give thanks for the pilgrims' relatively safe completion of their first year in the New World. There were some offerings of thanks in that regard, but official Thanksgiving celebrations made only sporadic appearances in history until Congress declared a national holiday to honor the Civil War dead, wounded and families in 1863.
But the first federal Thanksgiving Day Proclamation wasn't about pilgrims or a difficult winter or a civil war. It was about government. In 1789, Congress asked President George Washington to proclaim a day of thanks for the U.S. Constitution.
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The author is a Brentwood Borough resident.