In 1621, there was a three-day feast attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. This is, in America, considered to be the “First Thanksgiving,” however the New England colonists had been having “thanksgivings” since as early as 1607. These were days of prayer and thanking God for myriad blessings including military victories, harvests, the end of drought or anything else for which people believed they owed gratitude to God.

It wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” This year marks Thanksgiving’s sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary.

Much has changed since 1863. We have different things for which to be thankful—but we’re still thankful. It is a time to pause and take note of the things we have: love, life, health, bounty, a new baby, friendship…the list goes on and is different for each of us.

We, at VPS, are thankful for every day the sun shines, even when we can’t see it. We are thankful for airplanes in the sky and the air upon which they fly. We are thankful for our men and women in uniform and the work they do to give others something to be thankful for. We are thankful for sugar-white sand and the emerald-green water that gently kisses it. We are thankful for friendships and family and for you. Most of all, we are thankful for the opportunity to help you; to bring you together with your friends and family, no matter the occasion.

We leave you with this poem, “Lyrics of Life” by Florence Earle Coates:

Now gracious plenty rules the board,

Florence Earle Coates

And in the purse is gold;
By multitudes in glad accord
Thy giving is extolled.
Ah, suffer me to thank Thee, Lord,
For what thou dost withhold!

I thank Thee that howe’er we climb
There yet is something higher;
That though through all our reach of time
We to the stars aspire,
Still, still beyond us burns sublime
The pure sidereal fire!

I thank Thee for the unexplained,
The hope that lies before,
The victory that is not gained,—
O Father, more and more
I thank Thee for the unattained,
The good we hunger for!

I thank Thee for the voice that sings
To inner depths of being;
For all the spread and sweep of wings,
From earthly bondage freeing;
For mystery—the dream of things
Beyond our power of seeing!

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