News / USA

Americans Reflect on Thanksgiving Blessings

Millions mark national US holiday on Thursday

Mone and her daughters are grateful for family and all the trimmings of a happy life.
Mone and her daughters are grateful for family and all the trimmings of a happy life.

Multimedia

Audio

Thursday, Nov. 24, is Thanksgiving Day in America, a day set aside both for good eating and for gratitude.

On an unseasonably warm day in New York’s Foley Square, Mone and her two young daughters, Jasiyah and Damayah, are busy preparing for the holiday.

"This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for having my own Thanksgiving, my first family dinner that I am cooking - and that my mom isn’t cooking at all,” says Mone, who admits to being a bit nervous. “I hope I don’t burn anything or overheat anything, that it all comes out good.”

Mone teaches her two daughters to be appreciative of what they have.  

“I’m grateful for God for making the world, that I am alive," says Damayah, "for the food I have, for the clothes I have on my body, for the place I stay in, and for my mom.”

Parker and Paulina are thankful to be getting married this holiday weekend.
Parker and Paulina are thankful to be getting married this holiday weekend.

At the city clerk’s office down the street, Paulina and Parker are obtaining a license so they can get married over the holiday weekend. They are thankful for true love and more.

“Everything is going to be peachy,” the red-headed bride says with a grin. "I am grateful for this guy.”  

Her groom takes a more cosmic approach. “I am grateful for the fact that the sun shines and the sky is blue and the earth is at the specific point where it needs to be to sustain life, and the solar system and the galaxy," he says. "Of all the epochs to be born, I am here right now with this beautiful woman, exactly where I am supposed to be.”

Nearby, a man named Vincent, who says he is homeless, is not where he’s supposed to be.

"I was evicted four weeks ago, I feel, illegally. Nevertheless, even though there are many, many devils out to put you down and thwart you, there are equally as many angels willing to help you.”

The angels Vincent refers to are people like the bus drivers who let him board free of charge or at half price, or those who come up to him offering free food. “I will be eternally grateful for that,” he says. “I’ve been able to persevere with the help of the human spirit.”

Ronald - who works at a nearby homeless shelter and who was once homeless himself - is able to persevere thanks to the doctors who recently rid him of excruciating chronic back pain. “So I am grateful I came out of surgery a success.”   

A few blocks away, it is simple youthful freedom that a bicyclist named Mike is thankful for.

“I’m just grateful that I have a job and be able to do what I do," he says. "I have a little bit of money and I do whatever the hell I want on the side.”   

A woman named Charles expresses her gratitude in somewhat more religious terms.

“What am I grateful for this Thanksgiving? Life. Strength. And that God blessed me and opened my eyes,” she says. “The job that I have, that I can pay a bill and probably help someone less fortunate than me. So to me, every day is Thanksgiving.”

Occupy Wall Street protesters Jason and Oksana are grateful for community and the chance to dream.
Occupy Wall Street protesters Jason and Oksana are grateful for community and the chance to dream.

Like hundreds of other Occupy Wall Street protesters, Jason and Oksana have been ejected from Zucotti Park. Yet both still managed to carry a sense of blessing with them. Jason says he is grateful for dreams, and the chance to follow them.  

His girlfriend is more effusive. “This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my boyfriend, my dogs, sleeping bags that we managed to somehow salvage. There are lots of good people in the community.”

A fellow activist named Brandon, still sodden from the previous night’s rain, is thankful for the right to speak out under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment rights.

“Sometimes they get respected. Sometimes they get disrespected some," Brandon says. "But I am just grateful we live in a country where, when things do go wrong, we can stand up and we can say, ‘Hey, this is wrong and it needs to be changed.’”

A downtown resident named Barbara has not participated in the protests, yet she appreciates the idealistic spirit that underlies them.  

“I am extraordinarily grateful that people have been willing to give up their time and make such a commitment to staying outside in the cold and the rain and to try to bring about social justice. I am very grateful for their commitment on Thanksgiving.”  

Some thoughts to chew on along with all the roast turkey and the trimmings this Thanksgiving Day.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid