The Civil War was in progress in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving as a national holiday. He had given his historic Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19 of that year.

President Lincoln had all sorts of things going in that memorable year: He issued the Emancipation Proclamation Jan. 1 to start the year. A move that freed “all slaves in areas still in rebellion.” About 1,000 were killed or wounded in draft riots in New York City. In general, America was in turmoil. Yet, Lincoln set aside one day for Americans to give thanks. 

Tomorrow, Nov. 28, Americans will pause on Thanksgiving Day to keep the tradition alive. 

Some will point to the similarities of turmoil in Lincoln’s time and now. We beg to differ. America has come a long way since Lincoln guided the country through some of its darkest days. 

True, America has her problems. The country is sharply divided and polarized due to political differences. 

What better time than “Thanksgiving Day” to set aside these differences of political opinion and celebrate as one nation for the many blessings we do have. 

Our economy is at robust levels. Unemployment is at one of the lowest percentage points in more than a half a century. Young people are graduating high school and college and making enormous contributions to society. Health care technology has advanced to stages once thought to be unthinkable. We have the mightiest military in the world to deal with the bad guys if needed. The list of positives is long and growing.

Do we have problems? You bet we do. But we’re working to fix them. Every generation since Lincoln’s time has had problems. And generations before Lincoln had issues of concern.

Families near and afar will gather around settings of joy on Thanksgiving Day and dwell on the happy times. It’s the smart thing to do. it is the right thing to do. Americans have much to be thankful for. 

We wish all families, friends and neighbors a happy and joyful Thanksgiving.