As I trudge joyfully through building, blowing, beautiful snowdrifts back to my little Michigan log cabin, my sense of giving thanks could not be more clear or powerful. My pure, natural hands-on participation in God’s miraculous creation as a hunter/gatherer of His precious gifts of life-giving, renewable resources forces me to admit once again that Thanksgiving is indeed the proper celebration of the annual, natural harvest.
The magnificent whitetail deer I drag behind me may very well represent the most perfect example of this important holiday.
As an American, I have so much to be thankful for: freedom, liberty, choice, guaranteed individual rights, private property ownership, the American Dream of being compensated based on work ethic, sacrifice, persistence, cleverness, talent and simply being the very best that we can be.
I will never take for granted those things that provide me glowing quality of life, and I thank God every day for my health, my family and friends, my fellow Americans, my thermostat, hot and cold running water, plumbing, my roof, warm clothes, cool trucks, the hardworking farmers and ranchers that grow and deliver an endless flow of good food, the hardworking entrepreneurs that provide every service one could ever want or need and, of course, for the abundant renewable wildlife resources that feed my family and hundreds of millions of people around the world.
On many millions of Thanksgiving dinner tables across America, families and friends sit down to delicious, healthy, organic meals of big and small game we have bagged and processed this hunting season.
We join hands and give thanks as we dine on haunch of venison, wild turkey, ducks, geese, pheasant, quail, grouse, dove, woodcock, snipe, squirrel, rabbit, pronghorn, elk, moose, bear, cougar, wild hogs, gator and fish of every description, knowing that our feasts are the best available anywhere.
We salute and thank those great American farming and ranching families that produce the food that feeds the whole world, but those of us who hunt and fish and trap feel a deep and personal connection to the critters and the good mother earth that sustain us.
There is no question that the serious effort we put into killing our own food makes us appreciate it that much more, and without a doubt makes it all taste much better!
The first official Thanksgiving Day was celebrated on June 29, 1676, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, just across the Charles River from Boston.
More than a century later, on Oct. 23, 1789, George Washington would proclaim a “day of thanksgiving” to be celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 27 of that year.
Then in 1864, Abraham Lincoln made it official once and for all when he proclaimed;
“Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”
Like I said, the list of things we are genuinely thankful for is endless, but more important than anything else, we must be thankful for this sacred experiment in self-government that is the United States of America and thankful to the hero warriors of the U.S. military and their families for the never-ending sacrifices they endure on behalf of freedom and we the people.
Freedom is not free – and we must never forget to say thank you to them in every way we can and as often as possible.
Happy Thanksgiving every day America, and God bless!
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