News / USA

Obama Urges Unity on Post-Election Thanksgiving

U.S. soldiers pray before eating a Thanksgiving meal at a coalition base dining hall, Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2012.
U.S. soldiers pray before eating a Thanksgiving meal at a coalition base dining hall, Kabul, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2012.
VOA News
In his Thanksgiving holiday message, President Barack Obama called on Americans to come together in a spirit of unity after a contentious election season.
 
“Thanksgiving is a chance to put it all in perspective, to remember that despite our differences, we are and always will be Americans first and foremost," he said in his weekly radio and internet address, urging the country to put aside partisan differences after a campaign he called “passionate, noisy and vital to our democracy.”
 
Obama called on Americans, even as they celebrate the holiday, to do all they can to help less fortunate people, including those who lost homes along the country's Eastern seaboard because of the recent superstorm Sandy, asking everyone "to help families who are in need of a real Thanksgiving this year."

  • U.S. soldiers line up for food during a Thanksgiving meal in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 22, 2012.
  • A dining facility worker, left, serves soldiers and civilians for their Thanksgiving meal at the U.S.-led coalition base in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 22, 2012.
  • U.S. Army Master Sgt. Wade Manol explains the rules of football to players during a six-team competition to mark Thanksgiving at the U.S.-led coalition base in Kabul, Afghanistan, November 22, 2012.
  • Police walk along Central Park West as the Hello Kitty balloon waits for the start of the 86th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, November 22, 2012.
  • Clowns gather as the sun rises over the 86th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, November 22, 2012.
  • The Kermit the Frog balloon floats down Central Park West during the 86th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, November 22, 2012.
  • The Charlie Brown balloon floats down Central Park West during the 86th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, November 22, 2012.
  • Michael Smith, left and Jerry Brown have their Thanksgiving meal with hundreds of homeless individuals, Los Angeles, California, November 21, 2012.
  • Eva Cevallos with her eleven-month daughter, Quinn, shops for Thanksgiving at the Pre-Black Friday event at the Walmart Supercenter store in Rosemead, California, November 21, 2012.
  • President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha (l) and Malia carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," Nov. 21, 2012, in the Rose Garden of the White House.

Macy's department store chain kicked off its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, putting a festive mood into the air of a city still coping with the aftermath of the storm. Parade-goers enjoyed marching bands, performers and its giant balloons.
 
Five-thousand bleacher seats along the parade route were set aside for families affected by the storm.
 
After conducting the ceremonial pardon of a Thanksgiving turkey and delivering turkeys to a food bank for the needy on Wednesday, the president said he planned to spend Thursday in a private celebration with his family.

The Obamas' Thanksgiving Menu at the White House:

Dinner

  • Turkey
  • Ham
  • Cornbread Stuffing
  • Oyster Stuffing
  • Greens
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Dinner Rolls
 
Dessert

  • Banana Cream Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Apple Pie
  • Sweet Potato Pie
  • Huckleberry Pie
  • Cherry Pie
Origin

The holiday stems from a feast held in 1621 by pilgrims from England who, with American Indians in what is now the state of Massachusetts, expressed gratitude for their well-being by commemorating a harvest after a harsh winter.
 
George Washington called for a day of giving thanks and prayers in 1789, though it was not annually celebrated until President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.
 
The holiday is ingrained in American life as a day for family gatherings with sumptuous turkey feasts. By one estimate, more than 43-million people are expected to travel 80 kilometers or more to attend holiday gatherings between now and Sunday.
 
Other Thanksgiving traditions are prominent in the U.S. as well, including religious services and key youth and professional football games.
 
Black Friday

The American Thanksgiving, by law on the fourth Thursday of November, also serves as somewhat of a respite from the commerce of the approaching holiday shopping season, leading to Christmas on December 25.
 
But that no-shopping-on-Thanksgiving tradition is fading in the U.S., with some chain stores planning to open their doors for early holiday gift-buying on Thursday night. That is just hours ahead of what is called Black Friday in the U.S., traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the entire year.
 
In part, the day has been called Black Friday because of the millions of shoppers and traffic congestion throughout the country, from its largest cities to small towns. But the term is also said to describe the day in which retailers have enough sales to be profitable, to put them in the black, in accounting terms.
 
Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the U.S. economy and some retailers say end-of-year holiday spending accounts for about a quarter of their annual sales. But sales this year could increase just 2.5 percent compared to 2011, according to one estimate.
 
Holiday sales could be hurt by the sluggish pace of the U.S. economy, with more than 12 million workers still unemployed in the aftermath of the recession in 2008 and 2009.
 
One other complication is that the White House and Congress also are facing contentious government spending and tax issues that could further hurt the economy if left unresolved in the waning weeks of 2012. Almost all American workers face tax increases January 1 if the dispute is not resolved by the end of the year.
 
Some information for this report was provided by Reuters. White House correspondent Kent Klein contributed to this report.




You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Cranksy from: USA
November 22, 2012 12:46 PM
I wish that it becomes a custom to explicitly express gratitude to at least one person who has done something beneficial for you earlier in the year.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More