Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (November 23, 1944)
War leaves its impress upon each and every day in the year. Thanksgiving Day is no exception. Traditionally a family festival, we find most families separated. Turkey has given way to canned rations for a lot of American boys this year. The lurking Indian enemy is the old school books prints has become a more modern savage in Nazi or Jap uniform. The Puritan’s protecting blunderbuss has been transformed into the footslogger’s bazooka.
There is much to be thankful for – war or no war. We are closer to victory than we were a year ago. We are blessed with great resources and have successfully turned them to our defense. We are well-fed, warm, comfortable. We have been spared the destruction of our homes and cities. If we look around us and across the oceans, we know that we are, in truth, the fortunate of the earth.
But as we give thanks to our Creator and Protector today, let it not be in the spirit of the Pharisee who praised God that he was not as other men. It is so easy to be smug – even on our knees. If there is one thing, above all others, for which we should give thanks today and every day it is not our wealth or our resources or our comforts but that they had not deadened our spirit and courage. When we sing that grand hymn of James Russell Lowell – “Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide, in the strife of Truth and Falsehood, for the good or evil side” – we can hold our heads high. That is something for which, as a nation, we may be eternally grateful.
We have had the strength and the courage and the character to meet the test of war. We may well ask that we be endowed with them in equal measure for the tasks of peace that lie ahead.