Thanksgiving: A time of reflection, fellowship with the ones you love

Published 6:07 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2005

By By Janet Little Cooper
Thanksgiving Day is a tradition that has been around for hundreds of years. The story of Thanksgiving dates back to the 1620's when a group of Pilgrims set sail from England on a ship called the Mayflower.
The Pilgrims settled in Plymouth, Mass., an English port-city established in 1914 by John Smith. The group decided to settle in Plymouth due to the excellent harbor and abundance of resources. The local Indians were also known to be non-hostile.
A harsh winter left the group devastated. The cold temperatures and snow prevented them from constructing their village and planting their much-needed crops.
It wasn't until a year later that the Pilgrims were saved by a group of local Indians named the Wampanoag who befriended them and helped them with food.
The Indians taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn and grow other vegetables and store them for later. By the next winter, they had raised enough crops to keep them alive.
The Pilgrims had a bountiful harvest and had plenty of reasons to celebrate. They celebrated with a feast and invited their new Indian friends to join in.
In 1621, Governor William Bradford issued a proclamation that November 29 would be sat aside as a day for giving thanks, but for many years Thanksgiving was not celebrated. Thanksgiving Day didn't become a national holiday until 1863 when President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
Just as it was in the day of the colonists, we have many reasons too have a day of celebration, feasting and thanksgiving.
Among the many reasons we as a city have to give thanks tomorrow, the return of Atmore's 711th Battalion from Iraq would likely top the list. Our city has also been spared the wrath of a deadly hurricane season. Yes, we were battered and bruised, but our homes and city remain steadfast.
Here are what a few of Atmore community leaders are thankful for this Thanksgiving:
Howard Shell, Mayor
"We have an awful lot to be thankful for in the mayor's office this year. In spite of all the adversity we were going through with (Hurricane) Ivan and Dennis, we didn't experience the same sort of devastation brought on by Katrina. We lost material things, but not lives. It is also so nice to know that each one of our National Guard troops will be home with their family to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. On a personal level, I am thankful that my wife and I are able to celebrate this year with our daughter and her family in South Carolina."
Dr. Jon Yoder, M.D.
"I have hundreds of things to be thankful for. I am most thankful for my wife and loving family and my faith in God that helps me get through every circumstance. I am thankful for a city that has a YMCA where I can work out every morning in an effort to keep up my health."
Zikeyous Byrd, ECMS Principal
"I am thankful for the city of Atmore and to the Escambia County Board of Education for welcoming me in to this wonderful community. I am also thankful for a wonderful group of teachers and students as well as parents."
Bob Gowin, ACH administrator
"I am thankful for the way God protected us during the storms over the past year.

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