Thankgiving "Over There"
The story of Thanksgiving and America’s armed forces.
by Peggy M. Baker,
Director & Librarian, Pilgrim Society.
The first national annual Thanksgiving was proclaimed in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln. Amid the wrenching strife of the Civil War, the tradition of a national holiday centered on home and family and peace was established.
From that first Civil War Thanksgiving to today, sometimes against overwhelming odds, Americans have always found a way to celebrate Thanksgiving. Troops "over there" forged new families with their comrades. Families back home endured fear and loneliness with grace and courage, in hope for the future. During peacetime, special efforts are made so that American armed forces stationed away from home have a traditional "family" celebration.
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