Denny Norton

Denny is the owner of Performance Unlimited.

Where will you and your loved ones have Thanksgiving this year?

Will you drive to spend the holiday with family and friends? Will you spend your Thanksgiving in your McHenry home with loved ones who drive to see you? However you spend the day, you have a choice. Others have made decisions that may deny them the choice of where to spend Thanksgiving.

Some of those who have limited choices in where they’ll spend Thanksgiving are not too far from McHenry. They’re over by Lake Michigan at Great Lakes Naval Base. They are people who made a choice to serve their country and defend the liberty we use when we choose, among other things, where to spend Thanksgiving.

Those who serve are often separated from loved ones when the holidays come around. Fortunately, we don’t have to think of them in the line of fire today. But even if they’re not fighting somewhere and risking their lives, they’re on a military base that is nowhere near their home.

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays where most of us wish to be in the bosom of our families – with loved ones we care about and who care to know that we’re safe and relatively happy. Even those who spend the holiday with a family member who gets on their nerves might want to consider those who don’t have that option.

The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of survival when survival was far from assured. The pilgrims and the American Indians are said to have celebrated together in a moment of hope for happy relationships in the years to come. Of course, it didn’t always work out that way. But the promise of peace and good will is always cherished, whether at Thanksgiving or in the years to come.

George Washington was the first president to declare a Thanksgiving holiday. He established Nov. 26 as Thanksgiving Day. As president, Abraham Lincoln designated the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving. FDR tried to deviate from that pattern but his choice was unpopular and, by 1941, he changed it to the fourth Thursday in November.

When Lincoln designated the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving, America was embroiled in the Civil War, it’s most bloody conflict where 620,000 Americans never made it home, no less for Thanksgiving.

In 1941, when FDR changed the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November, he was not fully aware that America was about to engage in the Second World War. In both cases, millions of Americans were away from their families on that holiday. Thankfully, was is not keeping Americans away from their loved ones this Thanksgiving. But many will be separated all the same.

At Performance Unlimited, we wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. We also spend a special holiday greeting to all those who have made a choice to defend America, a choice that may deny them an option of spending Thanksgiving with loved ones possibly right here in McHenry.

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