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America Celebrates Thanksgiving Holiday

People across the United States are celebrating Thanksgiving, a feast day when, as the name implies, Americans give thanks for all things good in their lives and the bounty their nation provides.

The first Thanksgiving was observed by the first English colonists, or Pilgrims, who set sail for what is today the United States in search of religious freedom.

In 1621, settlers in Massachusetts celebrated their first harvest in their adopted land, joined by native American Indians who had helped them survive a harsh winter.

Today, Thanksgiving observances take many forms. For some, it is a deeply spiritual holiday. For others, it is a day to gorge oneself on a feast of turkey and watch American football games on television.

John Humphries and his four children came from Altanta, Georgia to spend the holiday in Washington.

"Our plans are to tour the Smithsonian and the [National] Mall and probably eat at the Smithsonian Indian [Museum] restaurant," he said, "and have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. We are excited to be in Washington."

The National Museum of the American Indian opened earlier this year. Mr. Humphries says there is no more appropriate place to spend time on Thanksgiving, since without native Americans the original celebration would not have been possible.

One of Mr. Humphries sons, nine-year-old Joseph, says he has much to be thankful for.

"I am thankful for my family, I am thankful for the sun and all the planets, and I am thankful for Jesus Christ," he said.