A Thanksgiving Greeting from Our Family to Yours

By: Governor Tom Wolf

November 23, 2016

Each year, we set aside a day of thanks for the many blessings that have been bestowed upon our great nation by celebrating the tradition of Thanksgiving.

This year, I have so much to be thankful for – my family and friends, my health, and the distinct honor of being able to serve the people of Pennsylvania every day as governor.

And here in Pennsylvania, we have much to give thanks for — an abundance of natural resources, rich and diverse communities, and a bright future.

What many Pennsylvanians may be surprised to learn, however, is that Thanksgiving was first proclaimed in my hometown of York, Pennsylvania.

Most Americans think of Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts as the site for the first Thanksgiving, and the pilgrims and Native Americans there did indeed begin a tradition of showing gratitude that we continue to celebrate to this day each November.

But at the height of the American Revolution, after a series of battles against the British, a group of Americans in the Continental Congress drafted a resolution in York declaring December 18th as a day of “solemn thanksgiving and praise” for the good fortune many hoped and predicted was on its way for the American revolutionaries.

On November 1, 1777, Sam Adams wrote:

“That at one time and with one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts… To inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all human blessings, independence and peace.”

The Thanksgiving holiday would continue to be celebrated on various dates throughout November and December, until President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be the official Thanksgiving holiday in 1863.

But Pennsylvania was the location of the first national Thanksgiving — a declaration of hope, gratitude, and togetherness during a pivotal moment in our nation’s history.

In the York Historic District, a historical marker along East Market Street informs passersby that Sam Adams of Massachusetts, a “father of the revolution,” advocated for the first time one day of public thanksgiving for the colonies.

In the York Historic District, a historical marker along East Market Street informs passersby that Sam Adams of Massachusetts, a “father of the revolution,” advocated for the first time one day of public thanksgiving for the colonies.

Today, as Americans and Pennsylvanians, we continue to hold our independence as one of our proudest values, and we continue to work towards peace in our homes, communities, schools, workplaces, state, and nation.

Frances and I are also thankful for the opportunity to lead our state into a bright, successful future. I and my administration remain committed to upholding the sentiments for which our founding fathers fought and said thanks in our commonwealth almost 250 years ago.

As families and friends across the Commonwealth come together to give thanks, Frances and I would like to wish all Pennsylvanians a Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

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