Thanksgiving: A Community Message | New England College

Thanksgiving: A Community Message

November 21, 2023
Graphic that says, "Happy Thanksgiving"

Happy Thanksgiving!

On September 28, 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale of Newport, New Hampshire, wrote a letter to President Abraham Lincoln making the case for establishing Thanksgiving a national holiday. Ms. Hale, editor of the Godey’s Lady Book, a popular 19th century magazine, had been writing editorials in support of the holiday for 15 years and had lobbied numerous presidents to create the special day. On October 3, 1863, her efforts came to fruition as the 16th President established the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Interestingly, in that same year the tradition of pardoning a turkey by the President was also established. A citizen donated a turkey to the Lincoln family. But, after seeing the ill-fated bird, 10-year-old Tad Lincoln expressed his concern to his father about the turkey that the young boy had named Jack. President Lincoln issued a reprieve of “Jack,” and a tradition was born.

Such stories are fun and endearing to recount. Perhaps most importantly, they affirm for me the warmth and joy that comes in the holiday season. They also serve as a powerful reminder that there is much for which I am thankful here at New England College – namely you – our faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the College. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend and enjoy some rest and relaxation.

From the 16th President of New England College on behalf of the 16th President of the United States, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

All the very best,

Dr. Wayne F. Lesperance, Jr.
New England College

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