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Happy Thanksgiving!

      Today is Thanksgiving Day, a national holiday. There is no mail delivery and government offices, schools, and financial institutions are closed as are most businesses.

     Many government offices will remain closed tomorrow as well.  In Nebraska, state and county workers have the day off because federal employees do, too.

Cities aren’t required to follow suit, but the vast majority do because so many workers didn’t want to come back for just 1 day after Thanksgiving.

      Chadron is among those that does give employees the day off, so not only will City Hall and the Public Library be closed, Chadron City Transit will NOT run.

The Chadron Area Aquatics and Wellness Center would normally be open the rest of the weekend, but it remains closed with mechanical issues.

      Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, in his Thanksgiving message, says it’s “a time to reflect on the Good Life we enjoy here in Nebraska.  There are many reasons why it’s a blessing to call the Cornhusker State home, starting with our state’s amazing people.  

    Nebraskans are kind-hearted, generous, and willing to lend a hand to a neighbor in need.  We’ve seen this spirit on display during floods in 2019, a pandemic in 2020 and 2021, and during widespread wildfires this year.”

      Ricketts gave a special thank you to the state’s first responders, especially in a year on track to be Nebraska’s second-worst for wildfires.

    The governor pointed out that of the state’s more than 17,000 firefighters in 478 fire departments, more than 15,000 are unpaid volunteers – many of whom have worked long shifts this year to help contain wildfires.

       Ricketts also gave thanks to what he called “the brave men and women serving in our nation’s military,“ especially those deployed away from home over Thanksgiving, adding that “We pray you have a successful mission and safe return home.”

     U-S Senator Deb Fischer issued her Thanksgiving message as a video, urging Nebraskans gathering together with family and friends to give thanks for their many blessings, but also to think of others and invited someone alone for the holiday to join you.

Senator Fischer also expressed her personal gratitude for the people of Nebraska who’ve honored her with the opportunity to work for them every day in the United States Senate.

   The idea of setting aside a specific day to give thanks for life and its blessings dates back thousands of years through many civilizations, cultures and religions…but the American celebration started with the Pilgrims.

      The religious refugees who founded the Plymouth Colony in 1620 marked their first harvest a year later with a feast of Thanksgiving. 

      The date was formalized by Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War as the last Thursday in November, with Congress later fine-tuning that to the 4th Thursday of the month.

   While turkey is the traditional main course of  a Thanksgiving dinner, Benjamin Franklin wanted to give it a more prestigious place in American history. He thought the turkey and not the bald eagle should be the national symbol.

     Humorist Stan Freberg offered a gentle jibe at the turkey-versus-eagle debate in his seminal 1961 album The United States of America, suggesting the eagle became the national symbol only because of a mistake at the first Thanksgiving.

In backing the turkey over the eagle as the nation’s symbol, Benjamin Franklin said the eagle was a thief and coward that represented centuries of European tyranny, while the turkey was smarter and braver than the eagle and had been a vital source of food for the early colonists. 

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