Editorial: A different Thanksgiving (11-24-43)

The Pittsburgh Press (November 24, 1943)

Editorial: A different Thanksgiving

Last year, as we prepared to observe Thanksgiving Day, we had little to feel cheerful about, little even to be thankful for–

Except that our skins were still whole, that we had great resources and great manpower on which to draw for a desperate war, and that we had started.

Things have come a long way in a year.

And while it cannot be said too often that the war is far from won, the tide has turned. Everywhere, the United Nations are on the offensive. Africa has been freed of Nazis, the Mediterranean is under our control, the submarine menace has been greatly diminished, the continent of Europe has been invaded, the Russians have gained their greatest victories and air raids on Germany are taking a tremendous toll of the enemy.

We can see daylight ahead.

So, we can be thankful, tomorrow, that, despite all our shortcomings and our home front fumblings, we have a people who have the stuff it takes.

We can be thankful for the production capacity, the resources, the ingenuity and the loyal workers to turn out the needs of war for ourselves and our allies.

We can be thankful for the great skill and courage of the Armed Forces and their leaders.

And we can be thankful that the good fortune of geography and the fortitude of our allies have saved us from Axis horrors which have been inflicted on other reports.

But tomorrow will not be a day of rejoicing and feasting in all American homes. To thousands have come those fateful, official messages, “We regret to inform you–.” In thousands of others there is grave apprehension of the day when those messages will yet be delivered.

So let those of us who are lucky enough to be at home, some perhaps in harassed civilian pursuits, some in tedious but good-paying war jobs, some feeling helpless because age or physical handicap keeps them here – let those of us give a thought to others.

Let us not forget those who died at Pearl Harbor, and on Guam and Wake, on Bataan and at Corregidor, those who died on Guadalcanal or in New Guinea, those who were mowed down at Kasserine Pass, or on the Salerno beaches, those who lost their lives over Berlin, or Ploești or Regensburg. And thousands of others.

Let us give thanks. But let us make the next year a greater year, a year of greater production and sacrifice. There are Americans in Jap and German prison camps to be rescued. There are Americans in uniform marked for dying whose lives we can save if we so our job at home.

May no American at home – war worker, civilian worker, government official – ever forget that.

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