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

Official: S. Sudan President, Rebel Leader to Meet in Tanzania

Talks part of effort to end conflict in country that has left more than 10,000 people dead, displaced more than 1.5 million others More

Dutch Deny Link to Mystery Submarine Off Sweden

Netherlands denies Russian claim that 'foreign vessel' photographed in waters off Sweden could be Dutch More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid