The meaning of Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is an American tradition that was first proclaimed in writing by George Washington in 1789. According to the National Archives, Washington wrote that Thursday, Nov. 26, 1789 was the first day of public thanksgiving for, among other things, “the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty” and for “the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed” following the Revolutionary War.

Two-hundred-twenty-seven years after the first official proclamation of Thanksgiving, people continue to celebrate the day with food, family and thankfulness.

Regina Rushing, 58, said Thanksgiving means “time with my family and being thankful for what we have.”

Rushing lives in Greenfield and said her family usually gets together and has lot of fun playing games, eating and watching the parades.

“All the normal Thanksgiving things,” said Rushing.

Her favorite homemade dish on Thanksgiving is a cheesecake recipe that is full of powdered sugar and a lot of love, said Rushing. “It’s a family recipe that we’ve had for generations that is like a cheesecake with cherries on it, only it’s a little sweeter and a lot better.”

She said Thanksgiving began as a gathering to celebrate “the harvest and being thankful.”

“I’m just very thankful for the blessings that the Lord has given me,” Rushing said.

Thirty-six-year-old Wilma Coblentz from the Leesburg area said that she is feeling thankful during the Thanksgiving holiday for what her family has. The family doesn’t eat breakfast in the morning, she said, to show thankfulness for what they have.

“Often our family gets together for dinner. We all take something along. Turkey is one of the things, but sometimes we just have chicken meat or something that we have,” said Coblentz.

Jerry Doyle, from New Holland, lives at St. Catherine’s Manor in Washington Court House. She said she’s looking forward to the food offered during the holiday.

“Turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes and pecan pie,” said Doyle.

The 91-year-old said family is important to her and they are very supportive.

“My family’s all gone but my sister told me to come to her house,” said Doyle. She says she usually eats and tries to take a nap.

“Eat and sleep. Talk about the good times and get back early so I can go to bed. That’s me,” Doyle said.

She said she loves her family very much—especially her niece, who mails her cookies.

“My niece sends them to me from Florida and then whoever opens them gets the first cookie. And after that, they’re gone. Everybody gets some,” Doyle said.

Judy Williamson, 62, from Washington Court House, said family is what she cares about during the Thanksgiving holiday.

But then there’s “pumpkin pie. The turkey, of course. We just all get together at my house during the day,” said Williamson, who said she has a fairly large family.

“The kids, we have games that they play afterwards. The new Speak Out, they’re doing that. It’s just mainly spending time together because it’s hard with working getting everyone together,” Williamson said.

Another Washington Court House resident, Debbie Schlichter, 58, said the most important thing to her during Thanksgiving is when family comes to the house, eats, and shares fun times.

For Schlichter, she said her favorite food dish is always the dressing, but “this year, it’s going to be creme brulee.”

When asked about something she is most thankful for, Schlichter said, “Health. Health for everybody. Being healthy and having food to eat, a roof over our heads, jobs.”

Jerry Doyle Doyle
Locals discuss what the holiday means to them

By Ashley Bunton

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Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton

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