Document Type

News Article

Publication/Presentation Date

Winter 2019


Today (November 28) is US Thanksgiving Day (Canadian Thanksgiving for 2019 was on October 14). Consensus suggests that the first Thanksgiving was at Plymouth in 1621, prompted by the good harvest that year. George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving on November 26, 1789 and in 1863, Abraham Lincoln officially called for Thanksgiving in all states. It now begins the ‘Holiday’ season with the following day marking the start of Christmas shopping. Black Friday ‘sales’ invite people to spend their money, and here in the French speaking part of Switzerland, shops are highlighting their ‘Black Friday’ deals – the two words now being internationally accepted as a way to encourage sales!

Thanksgiving Day is a day for Americans to reach out to family and friends with everybody giving thanks for what they have. They share a meal including roast turkey and pumpkin pie (in Switzerland, I enjoyed Dinde de Thanksgiving or ‘Thanksgiving Turkey’ with a sweet potato side!). Change the sweet potato and pumpkin pie to sprouts and Christmas pudding, and you have a typical British Christmas meal – traditional since turkey was introduced to Britain around 1526, although originally it was just one of several birds and meats at the Christmas feast.

Today, I am thinking about my American (and belatedly, Canadian) friends many of whom I have got to know since I started writing this newsletter. And in 1941, the pilots in Clewiston were thinking about their homes and family: ‘A Pilots Thanksgiving Prayer’ in Flypaper, November 26, 1941, includes the following lines - as relevant at Christmas 2019 as they were then in 1941:

“I thank Thee for my parents, ‘cause two better has no man;
For brother and for sister, too, and friends: not one I ban.
From asking that You bless them as You’ve blessed me this past year. Please grant them all continued peace.”

And so, to everyone, I send Season’s Greetings using the words of Gerry Beardsmore, 5BFTS Chairman from 1998 to 2005:
“From me and mine to you and yours, Best Wishes for a Merry Christmas and Health and Happiness and Peace in the New Year”



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.