Editor’s note: The following editorial was published in the Nevada Appeal on Thanksgiving 1908.
It was William Bradford, the first Governor of the Massachusetts Colony, who gave directions for the celebration of a day of Thanksgiving on December 31, 1621, the first thanksgiving celebration. It was Mrs. Sarah Josephs Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, that first suggested the last Thursday of November as the fixed time for this holiday.
The first national celebration was in 1789 on Thursday, November 26, a day that Washington by proclamation set aside as a day of thanks giving and prayer. From that time on down to the time when President Lincoln issued his 1864 proclamation the day was only spasmodically observed.
Stop one moment and think of the many changes that have occurred since 1789. They had great cause then to be thankful. Have we any cause this year, 1908, to be thankful?
In 1789 our country was a narrow strip along the seashore. Now it stretches from ocean to ocean, yea, more than that. Puerto Rico, the Hawaiian Islands. Guam, the Philippines, Alaska and the Panama Canal zone must be considered. Then the United States was an insignificant people. Now it is a world power whose word is respectfully heard and even asked for and is heeded. The influence of the American government is for peace and right and its influence has been mightily felt. We glory in our growth and our progressive spirit, our up-to-date-ness, our leadership in arts and all scientific lines and in any other vocations of life, but our leadership for peace is a greater honor than all other honors due us.
As a nation we have prospered and taken our place among the foremost of the world. As a state Nevada has progressed the past year with rapid strides. We have had peace in our midst; our mines have continued to give forth their precious metals and while the panic may have brought ruin and poverty to many at the same time they have rapidly recuperated and are pressing ahead with the same determined spirit that has always spelled success.
In our home city we have felt the effects of the panic of last year but our citizens have looked at the bright sides and we doubt if there is any want or suffering of any description today in this commonwealth. Is this not something to be thankful for?
Our business men are prosperous; there has been work for all during the past seasons and as the spring draws near everything points to one of the most prosperous years in the history of this valley. On all sides mines are being opened up; a smelter is planned and assurance given that it will be an actual reality; many new homes are being erected and a governor’s mansion is being built. Many state improvements are planned and all in all we are prosperous and on the verge of the most prosperous season ever witnessed. Is this not something to be thankful for?
New enterprises are being instituted an more clamoring to enter this field. Our climate is the best and there is practically no sickness. Fuel is sold at reasonable prices and there is plenty of it. Peace and contentment is seen on all sides and there is no reason why the people of the nation, state and this city should not be thankful and express this thankfulness by offerings and prayers to their less fortunate brothers. Let us be thankful.
This continues the Appeal’s review of news stories and headlines during its Sesquicentennial year.