WTVM Editorial 11/18/16: Who created Thanksgiving?

WTVM Editorial 11/18/16: Who created Thanksgiving?

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) – During this Thanksgiving week, we hope you and your family enjoy a peaceful and restful few days.

Among the people we all may want to thank for the holiday is a woman named Sarah Hale. If you've never heard of Sarah Hale, you aren't alone.

But without Sarah Hale, Thanksgiving might be just another Thursday.

Sarah Hale petitioned for 15 years to five presidents for a national day of "thanksgiving and praise". It was Abraham Lincoln who readily agreed and proclaimed Thanksgiving Day would be celebrated nationwide the last Thursday in November, starting in 1863.

It was a way of unifying the country torn apart by the Civil War. Prior to Lincoln's proclamation, states decided their own day for giving thanks.

Sarah Hale was an influential magazine editor in the 1800's and was openly opposed to slavery. Hale wrote that the dehumanization of slavery also dehumanized the slave masters, a brave statement at the time - wise and true.

Besides advocating for a national day of Thanksgiving and against slavery, Sarah Hale who lived to be 90, was the author of the universally known nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Just before she died in 1879, Thomas Edison spoke the opening lines of "Mary Had a Little Lamb" into his brand new invention: the phonograph.

So now at your family gathering, you might want to share the story of Sarah Hale, her anti-slavery stance, "Mary Had a Little Lamb," and how her letter to Abraham Lincoln led to the creation of our Thanksgiving Day.


General Manager Holly Steuart brings two editorials a week to WTVM. If you would like to respond to an editorial, e-mail your response to hsteuart@wtvm.com or write to:

WTVM Editorial Committee
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Columbus, GA 31906

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