Thanksgiving Turkey Facts

Here in the States it’s Thanksgiving Day, which means Go Eagles and Lions! Here are a few interesting facts about Thanksgiving, courtesy of

1. There are three places in the US named Turkey. 
Three small towns in America are named after the nation’s favorite bird. There is Turkey, Texas; Turkey, North Carolina; and Turkey Creek, Louisiana, according to the US Census Bureau. Turkey Creek, Louisiana is the most populated, with 441 residents.
There are also two townships in Pennsylvania called Upper Turkeyfoot and Lower Turkeyfoot.

2. The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade used live animals from the Central Park Zoo.
Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York took place in 1914 when Macy’s employees dressed in vibrant costumes and marched to the flagship store on 34th street.
The parade used floats instead of balloons, and it featured monkeys, bears, camels, and elephants all borrowed from the Central Park Zoo.
It was also originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade, but was renamed the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1927.

3. Jingle Bells was originally a Thanksgiving song. 
James Pierpoint composed the song in 1857 for children celebrating Thanksgiving. The title was “One Horse Open Sleigh,” and it was such a hit that it was sung again at Christmas. The song quickly became associated with the Christmas holiday season, and the title was officially changed in 1859, two years later.
4. The night before Thanksgiving is the best day for bar sales in the US.
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is responsible for the most bar sales in America, more than New Year’s Eve, the Super Bowl, or even St. Patrick’s Day.
It makes sense, since nearly all Americans have Thanksgiving off and dealing with family members can be very stressful. (But at least stuffing your face with fatty Thanksgiving foods is a perfect hangover cure.)
5. Thanksgiving leftovers inspired the first-ever TV dinner. 
In 1953, the TV dinner company Swanson overestimated the demand for turkey by over 260 tons, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
The owners of the company had no idea what to do with all the leftovers, so they enlisted the help of company salesman Gerry Thomas.
Taking inspiration from airplane meals, Thomas ordered 5,000 aluminum trays, and loaded them with the turkey leftovers to create the first TV dinner.
6. Thomas Jefferson canceled Thanksgiving during his presidency. 
George Washington was the first to declare Thanksgiving as a holiday, but it was on a year-to-year basis, so presidents had to re-declare it every year, according to the Washington Post. Jefferson was so adamantly against Thanksgiving that he refused to declare it a holiday during his presidency, and many say that he called the holiday “the most ridiculous idea ever conceived.”
Most historians agree that Jefferson really refused to declare the holiday because he fervently believed in the separation of church and state, and thought that the day of “prayer” violated the First Amendment.
It wasn’t until 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a federal holiday, that our beloved turkey day was officially scheduled to fall on the fourth Thursday of every month.

9. FDR tried to change the date of Thanksgiving — and it caused a lot of problems. 
In 1939, Franklin Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the second-to-last, according to the US National Archives.
The change was made in an attempt to lift the economy during the Great Depression, the idea being that it would give people more time to shop for Christmas.
But it ended up making everybody confused. Most states held Thanksgiving on its original date, and three states — Colorado, Mississippi, and Texas — celebrated the holiday in both weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal.
It caused such a public outcry that people began referring to it as “Franksgiving.” After two years, Congress ditched the new policy and set the fourth Thursday of November as the legal holiday.

two more from The Blaze site:

Many credit Harry S Truman for being the first president to pardon a turkey, but the Truman Presidential Library admits there’s no documentation to substantiate that claim.

Truman’s successor, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, admitted he ate the two turkeys presented to him at the White House for Thanksgiving each year during his two terms in office.

When President John F. Kennedy was presented with a turkey wearing a sign reading, “Good Eatin’, Mr. President,” Kennedy simply responded, “Let’s just keep him.”

When President Ronald Reagan was asked about possible pardons for Lt. Col. Oliver North and national security advisor John Poindexter in the Iran-Contra affair in 1987, he joked about pardoning a turkey, but the practice of “officially” pardoning the bird wasn’t formalized until 1989. Since then, each president has “pardoned” a turkey each year, allowing it to be spared from the roaster to instead live out the rest of its natural life.

One of the most ardent advocates for an annual national day of Thanksgiving was Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of Ladies Magazine and “Godey’s Lady’s Book.” Hale began lobbying for such a day in 1827 by printing articles in her magazines and writing to elected officials. After 36 years of persistence, Hale won her battle. Buoyed by the Union victory at Gettysburg, President Lincoln proclaimed that Nov. 26, 1863 would be a national Thanksgiving Day and that Thanksgiving would be observed each year on the fourth Thursday of November.

So there you have it. To all Americans, Happy Thanksgiving! And if you’re not American or you aren’t celebrating, Happy Thursday!

Salute to all Veterans Today

Today is the 96th anniversary of Armistice Day. If you don’t know your history, that means 96 years ago today, at 11:11 AM on 11/11/1918, the Central Powers led by Germany and Austria-Hungary surrendered to the Triple Entente led by the U.S., U.K., and Russian Empire (on its way to becoming the Soviet Union) in Compiegne, France, in a boxcar from an old freight train.

This day is commemorated around the world, generally to mark the end of a war which saw over 20 million human beings slaughtered, often in the most gruesome manner. Mustard seed gas, tanks, air combat, and trench warfare were used for the first time to kill, mostly in the nation of nationalism.

In America we mark this as Veterans Day, to acknowledge not only the end of hostilities in World War One but to honor the service of every man or woman who has ever put on a military uniform for any of the Armed Service branches. On this day I would like to thank our veterans for their service. All of you exemplify the best about being an American, no matter which branch of the Armed Forces you served in.

I would like to acknowledge the following for their service: John Stapleford, retired Vietnam veteran Air Force Captain and winner of the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with clusters; John Darr, who served in the 7th fleet during the Vietnam War as a company engineering officer; my grandfather, Frederick Friedman, who served as an Captain Chief of Obstetrics 551st USAF hospital Air Force doctor during the Vietnam War at Otis Air Force base in Massachusetts; and my great-uncle Eugene Cohen, who served in the Navy during world war 2 and took part in naval bombardments in the Pacific Ocean as America was advancing on Japan’s homeland.

History note: During World War Two, when the French Surrendered to Nazi Germany, Hitler forced the French to sign their surrender terms in the same boxcar Germany signed theirs in nearly 22 years earlier. That boxcar then got shipped off to Germany as a ‘prize’ for the Germans to gloat about.

It’s been thirteen years since the Darkest Morning.

For those of you who forgot (shame on you! naughty naughty, as my grandma would say) what today is:
No, that isn’t what my grandma looks like, though she COULD look like that on the wrong day.
Today is the 13th anniversary of 9/11, or the Day that Everything Changed, particularly Air Travel. For those of you who didn’t fly before 9/11, the kind of security we have now is not the same as it used to be. There was no need to remove your shoes at the security line, in fact the long lines and list of prohibited items did not exist and there was no Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
But what we commemorate on this somber day is the fatal hijacking of four airplanes: American Airlines flight 77 (crashed into Pentagon), American Airlines flight 11 (crashed into North Tower), United Airlines flight 175 (crashed into South Tower), and United flight 93 (crashed near Shanksville, PA, and sadly the memorial site is still not totally complete as of this writing). United Flight 93 is the subject of a 2006 movie which I saw but sadly didn’t get the attention it deserves. It was at 8:46 A.M. that flight 11 crashed into the North Tower. Most people who heard about this assumed it was a tragic accident. But it was at 9:03 A.M. when flight 175 crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center complex that people realized it wasn’t an accident.
It was around this time that I, being a 7th grader at the time, remember hearing a classmate of mine wearing an mp3 player with headphones (they had built-in radios) say “they crashed the second plane into the South Tower” and no one knew what he was talking about. We were herded in, around noon, into the cafeteria to watch coverage of the incident on CNN. They sent us home early that day and we watched coverage at hme.
So on this day, no matter what you do, remember the 3,000 AMericans who died, both in the plane crashes, on the ground, and during the rescue process, and remember the millions of lives which changed forever because of the horrific actions of that day. I will leave you with this video from that day. Click the link or watch below:
If you were alive on that day: where were you when you first heard about the attack?
If you were NOT alive on that day: when were you first told about what happened on that day and how were the facts presented to you?
PS. Today 237 years ago was the Battle of Brandywine, which I know about because I live in the area. If you are in the Philly area, take the driving tour of the Brandywine Battlefield. It’s a good way to learn about the battle and see the Delaware Valley (side note: the British won). Today is also the 2nd anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, and the attackers have still not been found.