Vote Today, Be Thankful Tomorrow

Vote on November 7thIn 1620, The Pilgrims spent their first grueling winter in Plymouth, Massachusetts where they were ill prepared to handle the long, cold weather.  When Spring arrived, the Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn and other crops.  They also taught them other survival skills for this new world, which included fishing and hunting.  The following year, they were ready to face the winter and had gathered a bountiful crop, for which they wanted to express their thankfulness.  It was the year 1621 when the Pilgrims and the Native Americans sat down for their first Thanksgiving feast.

Although historians are not positive about all of the foods served at the first Thanksgiving celebration, they are sure that there was venison and wild fowl.   According to 17th Century tradition, the best foods were placed closest to the most important people and guests would usually eat what was placed closest to them rather than taking samples of every food on the table.  They placed salt on the table, but pepper was only used in the cooking.  The celebration lasted several days with plenty of food and fellowship for all.

Abraham Lincoln  declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, but it was not until 1941 that the last Thursday of November was sanctioned by congress as a legal holiday.  This year, Thanksgiving will be celebrated by millions of Americans with friends and families on November 23rd.   For those who are less fortunate, there will be free meals at soup kitchens, rescue missions and other charitable organizations in just about every city across the nation.  

The History Channel will be airing a three hour special called "Desperate Crossing, the Untold Story of the Mayflower" on November 19, 2006 at 8pm Eastern and 7pm Central.

Things are heating up in the political realm as Election Day draws near.  Election Tuesday is on November 7th and Americans are thankful for the privilege of being able to go to the polls and vote their conscience in a free nation.  

The right to vote in America holds some interesting history.  George Washington ran virtually unopposed during the first presidential election in 1789.  However, John Adams came in as a runner up with 34 electoral votes and became Vice President of the United States.  Only men who owned property and were over the age of 21 were allowed to vote in the first presidential election.  In 1868, the fourteenth amendment gave any man over the age of 21 the right to vote and in 1870, the fifteenth amendment guaranteed men the right to vote regardless of race, color or previous condition of servitude. Women were not included in the right to vote until 1920.  In 1971, the voting age was lowered to 18.

Veteran's Day takes place on November 11th.  Since Veteran's Day falls on a Saturday, most official commemorations will take place on November 10th.  The first Veteran's Day or Armistice Day was celebrated in 1918, and Congress declared Armistice Day a legal federal holiday in 1938.  Although Americans may not all agree concerning national policy, the overwhelming majority are thankful to the men who have served our nation and stood for freedom whether in the past or at the present moment.

On the sports front, NBA fans are thankful for the start of the 61st regular season.  The first regular season game between the Chicago Bulls and the reigning world champions, the Miami Heat tipped off on October 31, 2006.  These two teams are currently listed in the top ten NBA power rankings.  Stay tuned for the rest of this month to see who starts off the season red hot and who will have to fight to make it to the playoffs.

Sites to visit for this November: