We're pleased to hear that as Americans celebrate the oldest of our holidays tomorrow, a great Thanksgiving tradition will continue right here in Crescent City.
Ever since the Puritans celebrated their first Thanksgiving in 1621, the holiday has been about sharing one's bounty with those less fortunate. The Puritans did not deny their sick, their elderly or their poor the joy of the feast. Nearly four centuries later on the continent's opposite shore, volunteers and donors across Del Norte County have given time, money and food to ensure the homeless, poor and lonely also enjoy a meal to celebrate our blessings. The Del Norte Community Thanksgiving Dinner, organized and supported by a number of civic organizations and local residents, will feed an estimated 700 people tomorrow in Crescent City.
As society has become increasingly urbanized and technology-dependent, Thanksgiving largely has moved away from its agrarian roots. The harvest-home festival of rural, Elizabethan England centered on celebrating when the crops were good. If they weren't, no festival was held. Though the Puritans didn't believe in celebrating Christmas, Easter and most national English holidays, they could not drop the harvest-home festival. It was a day to thank God for the blessings He bestowed upon them. Arguably, the religious aspect of Thanksgiving also has diminished in importance through the years.
We hope charity never ceases to be a part of the holiday. Altruism stands among humanity's - and America's - greatest virtues. On Thanksgiving in colonial times, those who had began their day by delivering firewood and turkeys to those in need. During the Gildred Age, those who had donated dollars and groceries to feed the nation's numerous and overcrowded orphanages. World War II GIs gave their Thanksgiving meals to children of liberated countries; it was the first meat many of the youngsters had eaten in months and sometimes years.
Even in a country as great as ours, poverty, hunger and homeless persist into the 21st century. But each of us today can continue the Thanksgiving tradition of sharing by helping to eliminate these problems with our generosity.