Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Chicago Sun-Times oped: Lincoln made a Thanksgiving plea for peace.

Lincoln made a Thanksgiving plea for peace. Let’s now envision a world without war or hunger.

When President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the National Thanksgiving Day holiday in 1863, he had peace on his mind. The United States was in the midst of The Civil War.

Lincoln called for a Thanksgiving prayer to end the war: “to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.”

Peace abroad was important to Lincoln as well, shown by his stating in the Thanksgiving proclamation that “peace has been preserved with all nations.” While the North and South fought the Civil War, there was also the danger of the U.S. going to war with Great Britain again. The U.S. almost withdrew from an agreement with Britain that disarmed warships on the Great Lakes. Fortunately the historic Rush-Bagot agreement, which has symbolized the peaceful border with Canada, was saved.

See my full commentary in today’s Chicago Sun-Times

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My History News Network Thanksgiving Oped

Imagine a mystery guest coming to your Thanksgiving dinner, one you have never met.  Imagine this “silent guest” being a starving person from a war-torn or impoverished country. That is what students at Mount St. Joseph University in Ohio want you to think about this Thanksgiving.

Students of the Mount’s Impact Club (Monica Brucher, Andi Saylor, Courtney Reed and Brittany Hein) are urging everyone to feed a “silent guest” at this year’s Thanksgiving. These students have been holding fundraisers for the World Food Programme (WFP) and trying to get people to join their “silent guest” plan. Where did they develop this idea: From history!

See my full article at the History News Network:

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Thanksgiving and the silent guest

This Thanksgiving season take a moment and let your mind wander back to the autumn of 1947. That’s when the Greatest Generation again rose to meet a challenge and help those in need.

They started the tradition of setting aside a plate at the Thanksgiving table for a ‘silent guest,” one of the world’s hungry.

See my full commentary at The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

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Invite a ‘silent guest’ this Thanksgiving and help people in need

Former Massachusetts Gov. Robert Bradford was a messenger of hope. It was the Thanksgiving season of 1947 and Bradford, a descendant of the Pilgrims, made a special radio address to the nation.

The governor asked Americans to invite a silent guest into their homes for their Thanksgiving meals. This imaginary “silent guest” would be one of the hungry people in Europe.

See my full commentary at The Seattle Times.

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My History News Network Thanksgiving Column

This Thanksgiving season take a moment and let your mind wander back to the autumn of 1947. That’s when the Greatest Generation again rose to meet a challenge and help those in need.

They started the tradition of setting aside a plate at the Thanksgiving table for a “silent guest,” one of the world’s hungry.

See my full commentary at The History News Network

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A Thanksgiving gift for Syria’s war victims

The war in Syria has caused a hunger emergency in the Middle East. On Thanksgiving Eve it was announced that the U.S. Food for Peace program is donating US $125 million to feed the war victims.

Read the full article at Examiner.

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My Cincinnati Enquirer oped: Feed ‘silent guest’ this holiday

This Thanksgiving put an extra chair at your table, and make room for a “silent guest.” That guest can be one of the world’s 805 million hungry people.

Read the full article at The Cincinnati Enquirer

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My commentary in the Des Moines Register: Feed a Silent Guest this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, put an extra chair at your table and make room for a “silent guest.” That guest can be one of the world’s 805 million hungry people.

Read the article at The Des Moines Register.

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My commentary in the Boston Herald: Feed a Silent Guest this Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving, put an extra chair at your table and make room for a “silent guest.” That guest can be one of the world’s 805 million hungry people.

Read the article at The Boston Herald.

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For Thanksgiving Take in a ‘Silent Guest’

Marathon Champ Paul Tergat, a WFP School Meals Ambassador, distributing food in Kenya. (WFP/Francesco Broli)

Marathon Champ Paul Tergat, a WFP School Meals Ambassador, distributing food in Kenya. (WFP/Francesco Broli)

Thanksgiving is upon us. So too is the famous shopping day Black Friday. It’s also the anniversary of a great American initiative. This one started after World War II when Americans fed a “silent guest” at their holiday meals.

It was dreamed up by a former aspiring actress named Iris Gabriel. She gave up on Hollywood only to find her biggest role was in feeding the starving people in the war devastated countries in Europe.

At Thanksgiving on 1947 Americans were asked to imagine taking in one of the world’s hungry to their holiday celebration. They could mail the cost to feed that “silent guest” to a committee in Plymouth, Massachusetts, the home of Thanksgiving. A CARE package was then sent to a hungry person overseas.

The “silent guest” plan was endorsed by governors around the country including Robert Bradford of Massachusetts, a descendant of the Pilgrims.

As this Thanksgiving and Black Friday approaches, there are two huge emergencies ongoing in the Middle East and the Philippines. The war in Syria has left millions displaced and hungry. The colder temperatures are moving in too making relief even more difficult.

The super typhoon Haiyan has destroyed whole communities in the Philippines, leaving them without food, water or housing. The United Nations says 11.5 million people are affected by the Typhoon and 544,606 people are displaced. Food, clean water, medicine and shelter are desperately needed. Hunger, malnutrition and disease will escalate among the population unless aid arrives in time. The storm’s impact can last long past the event itself.

At this very moment Catholic Relief Services is helping provide emergency shelters. This is especially crucial with the risk of more rains coming.

So this holiday season help a ‘silent guest” by donating to a humanitarian agency like Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services, World Food Programme, UNICEF and at your local food bank.

And you can also donate without opening your wallet by using the free hunger fighting app Charity Miles or playing the online game FreeRice.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday should be about sharing. For only by doing so can we have a world of peace, goodwill and hope.

This commentary originally appeared at the Orange County Register newspaper.

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