Thanksgiving 2016: We need a day of healing, no matter who is in the White House

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

graphic by Emma Wynkoop

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

by Savannah Sitler, Emily Sherwood, Reporters

The past 18 months of anger and partisanship has taken a huge toll on the United States. Everyone has taken sides, constantly arguing and proving themselves to each other. November has been dreaded since the election process began.

Now we look forward to another national November event. Thanksgiving is known for delicious food, family, and football. Is that what President Lincoln had in mind when he declared this national holiday?

The first day of Thanksgiving was in 1789, shortly after the ratification of the Constitution and years after the American Revolution. George Washington called the nation together for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer.

Later in 1863, Abraham Lincoln was inspired by Sarah Josepha Hale to nationalize the holiday.

Hale urged people to put aside their sectional feelings and incidents to unite in prayer and thanks for our country.

Lincoln hoped the holiday would heal the nation’s wounds, which included the bloody Civil War that the U.S. was involved in at the time. We believe we should use this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to reflect, pray, and give thanks as a step toward healing the current anger and confusion in America.

Even though the election has left many hurt and angry, Thanksgiving is a time to remind us why we’re grateful to be Americans.

Class of 2020 member Elizabeth Anderson said she is eternally thankful for all the choices and opportunities she has in America. “We can basically do anything in this country if we have the willpower,” she said. This includes healthcare, jobs of our choice, and education.

Most importantly, America allows its citizens to choose its future, vote, and speak out with the rights the country guarantees. Bre Wade, Class of 2017, said, “Being African American, I have the right to vote now…but we didn’t have it in the past, so I’m going to exercise that as much as I can.”

Not only do all citizens of America have the freedom to vote, but we can also reform our government needed to ensure that the country remains a world leader.

Additionally, we can be thankful for “our stable economy and the fact that we are a First World country,” said Macy Armagost, Class of 2019. She is also thankful for the fact that America has a growing economy and is self-sufficient. Many other countries are not able to provide for their citizens.

Class of 2018 Shannon Loughrey said,  “Freedom of religion is really important to me because it doesn’t matter what religion you believe in as long as you use it to do good in the world. People should be able to express their own religions.” It’s terrible to think that some people today still fall victim to religious persecution in many other countries.

“Thanksgiving is meant for everyone to set aside their differences and come together as one body and celebrate,” said Ethan Hart, Class of 2020.

This is what the country must do right now. Anderson believes we should not let this current negativity consume us as a nation and ruin our lives. If we give into this segregation and let the election tear us apart, we can say ‘adieu’ to America now.

Class of 2019 member Dominic Barbagallo thinks that America can look past the negativity posed by the election eventually, but, in the meanwhile, we should not let it divide us. “We all have our healthy opinions, and that’s what makes a healthy democracy, but I don’t think it should ever separate us.”

Thanksgiving 2016 is an opportunity to do more than watch football and eat. It’s a time for reflection and gratitude, no matter who is cooking in the White House.