News / USA

    Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

    Workers prepare the giant Snoopy balloon before the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, Nov. 28, 2013.
    Workers prepare the giant Snoopy balloon before the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, Nov. 28, 2013.
    VOA News
    Americans are marking the annual Thanksgiving Day holiday Thursday with meals, family visits and bargain shopping.

    The holiday is a time for giving thanks, often at family gatherings with feasts that center on turkeys with an array of traditional side dishes and desserts.

    Americans across the nation also gather for religious services, watch professional football games, and volunteer at food banks and other charities to mark the occasion.

    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade routeMacy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route
    x
    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route
    Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route
    In New York, Snoopy and the rest of the iconic, giant balloons soared during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Police gave the all clear Thursday morning, calming fears that heavy wind forecasts would ground the helium-filled entertainment.

    In Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama gave thanks for the men and women serving in the military.  

    "We give thanks for the freedoms they defend - the freedom to think what we want and say what we think, to worship according to our own beliefs, to choose our leaders and, yes, criticize them without punishment, said Obama. "People around the world are fighting and even dying for their chance at these freedoms.  We stand with them in that struggle, and we give thanks for being free."  

    On the day before Thanksgiving, President Obama and his family continued an annual tradition of volunteering at a Washington food bank to prepare food for needy families.  He also pardoned two turkeys, named Popcorn and Caramel, in an annual presidential tradition to spare the birds ahead of the holiday.  

    Massive annual sales across the country mark the beginning of the holiday shopping season.  In recent years, the sales at retail stores have started earlier and earlier.  This year, several major retailers opened early Thanksgiving Day with special deals for the first shoppers, many of whom camped out in line for hours.

    • Spectators dressed as turkeys stand behind police barricades as they wait for the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, Nov. 28, 2013.
    • A Spider-man balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 28, 2013. (Sandra Lemaire/VOA)
    • A balloon in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 28, 2013. (Sandra Lemaire/VOA)
    • Workers prepare the giant Snoopy balloon before the 87th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, New York, Nov. 28, 2013.
    • President Barack Obama, with daughters Sasha and Malia carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving the national turkey, Popcorn, from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon," at the White House, Nov. 27, 2013.
    • President Barack Obama, right, and first lady Michelle Obama participate in a Thanksgiving service project by handing out food at the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, Nov. 27, 2013.
    • Olivia Rios, who is currently unemployed, eats an early Thanksgiving meal served to the homeless and others at Los Angeles Mission on skid row, Nov. 27, 2013.
    • Travelers and commuters walk through Grand Central Station in New York, Nov. 27, 2013. 
    • Chynnah Clasberry prepares to board a Megabus in Chicago, Illinois for a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, Nov. 26, 2013.
    • Motorists drive north in the rain on Interstate 270 out of Washington ahead of Thanksgiving, Nov. 26, 2013.
    • Tina Corpus and her daughter, Christina, shop for turkey in Los Angeles, California, Nov. 26, 2013.
    • U.S. Army Sgt. Angelica Ciriaco makes her way home at the Miami International Airport after serving 10 months in Afghanistan, Nov. 26, 2013.

    And at U.S. military bases in Afghanistan and around the world, soldiers were treated to traditional Thanksgiving meals served by their commanders to mark the holiday.  

    Tradition says the first American Thanksgiving occurred in 1621, when early North American settlers gave thanks for their harvest after a harsh winter.

    More than a century later, the nation's first president, George Washington, issued a Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: carluchidisieno@gmail.com from: Kiev
    November 29, 2013 3:52 PM
    Thanksgiving is stupid and makes no sense unless, of course you think killing a turkey and stuffing bread and vegetables up his rectum is something special? I am sure if ask a turkey their thoughts of Thanksgiving Day they too would say is very stupid holiday. Then let’s consider the Indians and what they think? Though, we aren't talking about killing them later to feed Americans like turkeys, but we must not forget what price they all paid for this Thanksgiving Day tradition. Factually speaking, when the Pilgrims came to America they didn’t know how to survive the Indians helped the Pilgrims grow food taught them how to live. However, later after Pilgrims had no further use for the Indians they killed them so what kind of holiday is this? Personally, think we should get rid of this holiday. The money spent on Thanksgiving food should be donated to schools on reservations and any other Native American cause. The true history of Thanksgiving is much blacker and bloodier and is only remembered by Native Americans and very few others. But one thing for sure, when considering the American white people killed off Indian civilization there is very little cause for the Indians to celebrate anything.

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    November 28, 2013 8:20 PM
    Yes, let us say thanks everybody and every lives for everything offered to us! We could not live lives lonely even for a moment. We are born to this earth to find out beloved ones as many as possible. Thanks giving must be a key to solve any kinds of conflicts.Thank you.
    In Response

    by: Cranksy from: USA
    November 29, 2013 4:36 PM
    Hi Yoshi, I am glad you value the personality trait of gratefulness or the virtue of gratitude. Do you think when a person says "I love you" what they are really saying is "thank you"?

    by: Cranksy from: USA
    November 28, 2013 1:22 PM
    I suggest that it becomes a custom around Thanksgiving Day to explicitly thank someone who has done you a favor during the previous year. Thank you, Judith Arnold.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora