It is the time of year when most people begin to think about gifts — both receiving them and giving them.

Black Friday, the traditional beginning of the holiday shopping season, is tomorrow, though we have been hearing about “Black Friday sales” since before Halloween. The holiday seasons get more jumbled with each passing year, it seems.

As the spirit of giving spreads and grows, The Frederick News-Post is looking to help local nonprofits with their holiday wish lists. In today’s newspaper, you will find a page with notes from several nonprofit groups listing their needs.

We encourage you help out in any way you can. Any gift, no matter how large or small, can fill the heart of the giver with happiness and a sense of pride. Helping those in need can multiply these feelings.

After all, giving is an integral part of Thanksgiving.

Eons ago, it started as a harvest festival, a holiday in almost every culture. When the fields were ripe with grain and the trees laden with fruit, our early ancestors marked the occasion with a feast and gave thanks to whatever God or gods they worshipped.

Most of us have learned the story of the first Thanksgiving in the New World, celebrated by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Rock in 1621, with Native Americans who had helped the colonists survive their first year. It has become part of the shared memory of the American people.

However, historians now believe that thanksgiving services were held as early as 1607 in Virginia, and even earlier in colonies of Spanish and French farmers in the New World.

In Britain, people had been giving thanks for successful harvests for thousands of years, so it was quite appropriate to carry it over to America.

The British harvest festival is traditionally held on the Sunday near the Harvest Moon, the full moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox, in late September. Historians believe the Plymouth holiday was probably around Sept. 28.

The new Americans marked many other successful harvests in the years after that first one, and it is likely they often celebrated with feasts from the bounty.

After the American Revolution, the day of thanksgiving evolved from a harvest festival to a day celebrating God’s blessings that the Americans saw in their new nation. President George Washington, at the request of Congress, issued a Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789.

The holiday was observed intermittently in the first decades of our nation’s history, with the non-religious Thomas Jefferson ignoring it altogether. The modern observance of a day of Thanksgiving began with President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation of 1863.

As divided as we are today, it is important to remember that during the darkest days in our country’s history, the terrible Civil War of 1861-65, Lincoln and most Americans set aside a day to count their blessings.

Hundreds of thousands were already dead. The brutal, bloody battles at Vicksburg in the west and Gettysburg in the east were only a few months past. And Lincoln had delivered his sorrowful yet hopeful Gettysburg Address a few days earlier.

It was in this environment that Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise” for the last Thursday in November. Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated annually ever since in late November (now always on the fourth Thursday).

The holiday has not always fallen on easy days. The country has often been at war in the intervening 156 years, and men and women have been dying for the United States for the last 18 years in the Mideast war. Many Thanksgiving tables will have empty places.

But Americans still have much for which to be thankful, and we know it. Charitable giving always spikes at this time of year, as we look around our homes and families, and know we really are a people who are blessed with abundance.

That is why we have decided to dedicate today to help fulfill wishes of our local nonprofit groups who work throughout the year to improve lives and lift up people in need. We hope that you will take a moment to read the page with the wish lists, and see what you might do to make a difference.

Consider giving on this day of thanksgiving and praise.

(12) comments

Reader1954

Is it really that hard for someone to go to state highway dept. and ask for a couple of signs listing the height limit?

jsklinelga

Nice editorial. Reading the four comments is some what sad. It makes you wonder if many really do "count their blessings." But within our communities we see that many are thankful for our unparalleled abundance and seek ways to help those less fortunate, like the non-profits. Good column.

sue1955

There's absolutely nothing wrong with the sentiment stated in the article. But, charity begins at home. If you can, do something special for any family and/or close friend(s) who had some bad luck recently (e.g., accident, devastating loss). Take them out to a gourmet dinner, give some money, "whatever" that you can afford.

KellyAlzan

I am thankful for Ky Hagen and Steve mcKay for focusing on banning balloons. All while route 75 north from 355 still endures zero signage announcing to trucks that there is a low bridge in Monrovia.

Great leadership!

KellyAlzan

Correction, first sign appears at the Mt Nebo church. No turn around, no pull over opportunities.

gabrielshorn2013

And as Steve McCay has already pointed out, the drivers ignored the maximum length and width signs, where there was an ample opportunity to turn around. Just for S&G I drove that section of road after he mentioned it, and he is correct. What makes you think they will heed the maximum height signs?

KellyAlzan

Gabe - I am writing / concerned with the trucks that are getting stuck under the bridge on a weekly basis. This is a height issue.

Length and width in a truckers eyes are a whole different thing.

I know it’s customary for online dialog to one-up, to debate, back and forth. But please, pause before responding, and please hear what I’m saying. Mr. McKay’s response(s) have been deficient and done so on a whim without any research on his behalf. The length and width of a truck on 75 north is not a public nuisance, it’s the over-height trucks that is a public nuisance. And there are no signs.

Look bud, I have large trucks. You do not. Please. Hear me out. Please listen to me, and allow yourself to understand what I am conveying. There truly is a problem with 75 north from 355. There truly are no signs until Mt Nebo church. Folks that own, operate, or are around tractor trailers know what is needed to turn around - FNP commenters, do not, and neither do retires postal workers. Not being nasty, just being forth right.

The deficient truck height signage on Rt 75 north from 355 needs addressing and contended with. Period.

gabrielshorn2013

I thoroughly understand your concerns Kelly, and even though the trucks are getting stuck because of excessive height, those same trucks exceeded the length posting that gave the truckers plenty of time to turn around. Why hammer a County representative when MD75 is a STATE road, whose signage is set by the state? Mr. McKay has no more authority to demand new signage than you do. Have you given your wealth of evidence to the SHA, who actually can do something about it.

gabrielshorn2013

^ McKay not McCay

public-redux

I believe it was only lighter-than-air balloons and not balloons generally.

Is 75 a state road or a county road?

KellyAlzan

State road consuming county resources on a weekly basis. The county council and county executive are in best position to address and work with SHA on both proper signage (for northbound) as well as a solution.

To read Steve’s on the whim response last week was insulting, and it showed how little attention he has given to the ongoing issue. He wrote the northbound truckers “ignore the signs”. Well, upon entry to 75 north THERE ARE NO SIGNS.

public-redux

You’re correct. It is a state road.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominem criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.