Today, our nation celebrates a holiday which carries on a tradition that goes back at least to the time of Abraham Lincoln, that of setting aside a Thursday late in November as a national day of prayer and thanksgiving.
On this very special day, we are reminded of our origins as Americans, of the pilgrims who came to this land searching for freedom, freedom of religion and freedom of expression. We Americans are quite remarkable in the way we travel thousands of miles to be home for Thanksgiving. The nation generally shuts down and pauses so all who call our great nation home may share a meal with family and friends. We continue to strive to make Thanksgiving Day a true day for thanking God.
However, many in our state wish to join the growing tide of eliminating the holiday aspect from Thanksgiving. Led by the Rhode Island Retail Federation, some are calling for the repeal of the blue law that requires retail stores be closed on Thanksgiving Day. If this happens, far too many Rhode Islanders will be forced to work on a holiday they should be spending with family and friends. If the law is repealed, then Rhode Island will join dozens of other states who have turned Thanksgiving Day from a day of family, friends and giving thanks to one of crass commercialism and conspicuous consumption of retail merchandise rooted in greed.
Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for all of God’s blessings. It should not be just another day engaged in celebrating retail endeavors while forcing individuals to work for those entitled to celebrate a national holiday at home. Profits must not be put before what is best for people. God calls us, feeds us, clothes us, and blesses us, with the intent purpose that we will extend that blessing by our own graciousness, gratefulness and generosity at least one day a year. Rhode Island should not turn Thanksgiving Day into a ‘Black Thursday’ shopping frenzy. No, Rhode Island should continue to follow the business model of giving thanks and praise to the Almighty on Thanksgiving Day and keep the shops closed for business.