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Thanksgiving in July

We have just had a summertime reminder that giving thanks does not have to wait for Thanksgiving Day in November. But just why is the governor of Massachusetts proclaiming July 8 as a day of thanksgiving throughout the state? Why is an ecumenical committee announcing a ceremony of thanksgiving to God on that day at 11 a.m. on John Harvard Mall in Charlestown? And why is the National Thanksgiving Commission of Dallas, Texas, interested in all this, too?

It is because the founders of America, in the midst of hardship, could pause to express gratitude, and harried Americans today might well also pause to count their blessings in this tradition. The observance this week appropriately makes a place for thanksgiving in Boston's 350th anniversary celebrations. For the ships of the settlers had arrived safely after a difficult passage. And on July 8, 1630, John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, records: "We kept a daye of thanksgivinge in all the plantations."

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The occasion is said to have produced a unity of feeling among the scattered colonists of that day. A daily sense of gratitude could help link the citizens of 1980 to meet the new problems that demand a freshened unity.

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