You’re planning for the big day, the big turkey (or vegan equivalent), you’re wondering how to time everything . . .
Just a reminder to patriots and sunshine patriots that Thanksgiving is one of those days designated in the U.S. Flag Code as a day for citizens to fly Old Glory. Plan to put your flag out early, you won’t have to worry about it all day.
There was a time when people actually sent Thanksgiving cards; few keep up that tradition. Image from Pacific Paratrooper.
It’s a great time to recall that the purposes of Thanksgiving usually start with expressing gratitude to and with all of our neighbors, as a means of binding us together as a community, a people, and a nation. And sometimes, an entire world, as cartoonist Joseph Keppler imagined. Recognizing that fellowship is not the rule now, as it wasn’t the rule when Keppler called out our hypocrisy then.
To better times to come.
From the Library of Congress collection: Joseph Keppler’s “A Thanksgiving Toast,” Puck magazine, November 30, 1898. “Caption: Puck Gentlemen, your health! I am glad to see from your bea[…]ing faces that you share the high aspirations of our friend, the Czar, for Universal Peace. Here’s to you all! Illus. from Puck, v. 44, no. 1134, (1898 November 30), centerfold.”
(More explanation from the Library of Congress: Print shows Puck standing on a chair at the head of a large dinner table, offering a Thanksgiving toast to those seated around the table, including “England, France, Germany, [Japan?], Russia, Austria, Italy, Turkey, Uncle Sam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Brazil, [and] Mexico”. Most of the European countries, as well as Mexico and Brazil, are glaring at their neighbors, with the exception of Russia where Nicholas II attempts to look pious. Turkey appears to be trying to stifle laughter. Uncle Sam seems to be the only one enjoying the toast. Puerto Rico, holding an American flag, and Hawaii are expressionless.)
Flag waving image at top, the U.S. flag at Camp Wisdom, Circle 10 Council BSA, in Dallas, Texas
Our traditional Thanksgiving post wishing for peace:
November 1869, in the first year of the Grant administration — and Nast put aside his own prejudices enough to invite the Irish guy to dinner, along with many others. (Nast tended not to like Catholics, and especially Irish Catholics.)
In a nation whose emotions are still raw from a divisive election, a year of protest for the right to live, a year of too-long-continued deadly plague, unwarranted, horrifying assaults on police officers, not to mention daily horrors reported from Venezuela, Central America, East Timor and Indonesian New Guinea, Syria, Belarus, Asia and the Middle East, could there be a better or more timely reminder of what we’re supposed to be doing?
A Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub tradition: Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving. History teachers should use the image — and if you’re teaching history at home to students working hard to avoid getting ill, you should use it, too. If you’re teaching in Texas . . . well, there’s something here to make everyone angry, but anger is allowed under the new history censorship rules, right?
(Click for a larger image — it’s well worth it.)
Thomas Nast’s “Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving,” 1869 – Ohio State University’s cartoon collection, and HarpWeek
“Uncle Sam’s Thanksgiving Dinner” marks the highpoint of Nast’s Reconstruction-era idealism. By November 1869 the Fourteenth Amendment, which secures equal rights and citizenship to all Americans, was ratified. Congress had sent the Fifteenth Amendment, which forbade racial discrimination in voting rights, to the states and its ratification appeared certain. Although the Republican Party had absorbed a strong nativist element in the 1850s, its commitment to equality seemed to overshadow lingering nativism, a policy of protecting the interests of indigenous residents against immigrants. Two national symbols, Uncle Sam and Columbia, host all the peoples of the world who have been attracted to the United States by its promise of self-government and democracy. Germans, African Americans, Chinese, Native Americans, Germans, French, Spaniards: “Come one, come all,” Nast cheers at the lower left corner.
One of my Chinese students identified the Oriental woman as Japanese, saying it was “obvious.” Other friends say both are Chinese. Regional differences. The figure at the farthest right is a slightly cleaned-up version of the near-ape portrayal Nast typically gave Irishmen.
Hope your Thanksgiving week is good; hope you have good company and good cheer, turkey or not, traveling or not, company or not. Stay safe. Happy Thanksgiving 2021. And of course, remember to fly your flag, to show you agree with Nast’s inclusive Thanksgiving.
More: Earlier posts from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub
For several reasons including mnemonic, the treaty called for an end to hostilities on the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918. Your state’s history standards probably list that phrase somewhere, but the history behind it is what students really find interesting.
The Allied powers signed a ceasefire agreement with Germany at Rethondes, France, at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, 1918, bringing the war later known as World War I to a close.
President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day the following year on November 11, 1919, with the these words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” Originally, the celebration included parades and public meetings following a two-minute suspension of business at 11:00 a.m.
Between the world wars, November 11 was commemorated as Armistice Day in the United States, Great Britain, and France. After World War II, the holiday was recognized as a day of tribute to veterans of both wars. Beginning in 1954, the United States designated November 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars. British Commonwealth countries now call the holiday Remembrance Day.
Online holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) provide rich sources of information on America’s military, and on veteran’s day. NARA leans to original documents a bit more than the Library of Congress. For Veterans Day 2016, NARA featured an historic photo form 1961:
NARA caption: President John F. Kennedy Lays a Wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as part of Veterans Day Remembrances, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia, 11/11/1961 Series: Robert Knudsen White House Photographs, 1/20/1961 – 12/19/1963. Collection: White House Photographs, 12/19/1960 – 3/11/1964 (Holdings of the @jfklibrary)
Nine events spread over seven different days come with urgings to fly the U.S. flag in November: Six states celebrate statehood, Veterans Day falls always on November 11, and Thanksgiving Day on November 25.
Cub Scouts carry the U.S. flag in the Houston, Texas, Thanksgiving parade. Unknown year; image from Greater Houston Moms
Did I say eight? 2021 is an election year in many states, like Texas; we fly flags at polling places on election day, so that makes nine events. You may fly your flag at home on election day, too.
Two states, North Dakota and South Dakota, celebrate their statehood on the same date, and that’s the date of elections in 2021. Washington’s statehood day falls on Veterans Day, November 11 — so there are only six days covering nine events.
In calendar order for 2021, these are the seven days:
North Dakota statehood day, November 2 (1889, 39th or 40th state)
South Dakota statehood day, November 2 (1889, 39th or 40th state) (shared with North Dakota)
Election day, November 2 (several states)
Montana statehood day, November 8 (1889, 41st state)
Veterans Day, November 11
Washington statehood day, November 11 (1889, 42nd state) (shared with Veterans Day)
Oklahoma statehood day, November 16 (1907, 46th state)
North Carolina statehood day, November 21 (1789, 12th state)
Thanksgiving Day, fourth Thursday in November (November 25 in 2021)
Most Americans will concern themselves only with Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. Is flying the U.S. flag for statehood day a dying tradition?
Color guard carries U.S. flag, closely followed Bullwinkle the Moose, in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, unknown year. HistoryDaily.org image
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We've been soaking in the Bathtub for several months, long enough that some of the links we've used have gone to the Great Internet in the Sky.
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Retired teacher of law, economics, history, AP government, psychology and science. Former speechwriter, press guy and legislative aide in U.S. Senate. Former Department of Education. Former airline real estate, telecom towers, Big 6 (that old!) consultant. Lab and field research in air pollution control.
My blog, Millard Fillmore's Bathtub, is a continuing experiment to test how to use blogs to improve and speed up learning processes for students, perhaps by making some of the courses actually interesting. It is a blog for teachers, to see if we can use blogs. It is for people interested in social studies and social studies education, to see if we can learn to get it right. It's a blog for science fans, to promote good science and good science policy. It's a blog for people interested in good government and how to achieve it.
BS in Mass Communication, University of Utah
Graduate study in Rhetoric and Speech Communication, University of Arizona
JD from the National Law Center, George Washington University