Thankful to be an American

Published 4:31 pm Tuesday, November 20, 2018

America truly is defined as a country representing a cornucopia of different cultures living under a democracy. We can be thankful that our founding fathers were wise enough to leave future generations a sacred document called the Constitution. In fact, the Preamble to the Constitution specifically states that “in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

As we celebrate Thanksgiving, remember the pilgrims — after having a very good harvest and thankful that they had made it to the New World and were surviving and prospering — decided to have a harvest festival and a day of thanks.

That was in 1621. The first Thanksgiving did not lead to a traditional holiday and certainly not to a national one, since the United States didn’t exactly exist. It was Abraham Lincoln, as president, who in 1863 declared the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day. It was Congress in 1941, who “set the national holiday” of Thanksgiving as being authorized on the fourth Thursday of every November.

As I have said in a previous column, Thanksgiving season is always a special time for me. In 1987, during Thanksgiving, my mother made a prophetic comment that she would probably not be alive for the next celebration of the holiday. Family members and friends who heard her utter these words and teased her by saying that she will probably live to be more than 100 years old. We had a beautiful Thanksgiving that year.

During the next year, however, in the first week of August, I began to feel restless and uneasy. I had premonitions and dreams that my mother was ill, and I would awaken from sleep in a fetal position with my hands clasped as in prayer. I gave into my feelings and called my mother. She told me that she was in fact, not feeling very well. I immediately took her to a local doctor for a series of medical tests.

After the tests were over, the doctor asked her to return to his office in three days for more tests. She did not live to keep the medical appointment. I talked to my mother by telephone the evening she would make her final transition to be with God. While talking with her, some of her friends arrived to visit, and she asked me to call back later in the evening. Within an hour after our conversation, my phone rang. It was a relative shouting that my mother had become critically ill and was rushed to the hospital. She later passed. That was in 1988. I miss them, but I am thankful for living in America, and for E.F. and Ernestine Dowell — the greatest parents any child could call mom and daddy.