Gratitude is a virtue. It’s moral and it’s healthy. Thanksgiving is a day to practice this virtue, rendering the efforts to rebrand the holiday an attack on thankfulness itself. In times of war and times of peace, there is always reason for pain. That we have a holiday dedicated to gratitude does not invalidate any of these reasons. It soothes our pains but does not dismiss them.
Indeed, President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in the midst of the Civil War, making this very argument explicitly in his proclamation. Thanksgiving has always been about pausing in bad times to give thanks for the good.
“In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity … peace has been preserved with all nations,