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US Observes Thanksgiving Holiday - 2003-11-27

People across the United States are observing the Thanksgiving holiday Thursday, a time for family and friends to reunite and reflect.

Millions of Americans have taken to the roads, rails and skies to join their loved ones during one of the busiest travel periods of the year.

In his Thanksgiving message, President Bush pays tribute to the men and women of the U.S. military. He says they are continuing the noble tradition of sacrificing to, "preserve our freedoms and to defend peace around the world."

Mr. Bush is spending the holiday at his Texas Ranch, where he will reportedly place phone calls to a number of soldiers to thank them for their service in Iraq.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Jack Reed of Rhode Island are in Afghanistan to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with U.S. troops there.

Thanksgiving is celebrated annually on the last Thursday in November. It dates back to 1621 when European settlers and native American Indians held a feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest.

It is thought that the settlers and the Indians ate many of the same foods Americans now considered traditional Thanksgiving fare, such as roasted turkey.