A Time of Thanks & Reflection
November 24, 2010, Arlington, VA--This Thanksgiving we stop working to reflect and give thanks with family and friends for the blessings of the past year. Read on for a Thanksgiving history lesson and a Leadership Institute reflection.

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs' project America.gov stated in an article, "Thanksgiving is popularly traced to a 1621 feast shared by the English Pilgrims who founded the Plymouth Colony (located in present-day Massachusetts) and members of the Wampanoag Indian tribe."

The America.gov article continues by stating, "The Pilgrims had arrived in 1620, crossing the Atlantic Ocean to separate themselves from the official Church of England and practice freely their particular form of Puritanism. Arriving at Plymouth Colony too late to grow many crops, and lacking fresh food, the Pilgrims suffered terribly during the winter of 1620-1621. Half the colony died from disease. The following spring, local Wampanoag Indians taught the colonists how to grow corn (maize) and other local crops, and also helped the newcomers master hunting and fishing. The Wampanoag were a people with a sophisticated society who had occupied the region for thousands of years, says the National Museum of the American Indian. Because they harvested bountiful crops of corn, barley, beans and pumpkins the Pilgrims had much to be thankful for in the fall of 1621."

"The legacy of giving thanks, particularly with a shared feast, has survived the centuries. Several U.S. presidents -- starting with George Washington in 1789 -- issued Thanksgiving proclamations, but it wasn't until President Abraham Lincoln's 1863 proclamation that Thanksgiving became an annual national holiday. He called for it to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November."

"A 1941 congressional resolution moved it to the fourth Thursday to assure a longer post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas shopping season in years when there are five Thursdays in November," the America.gov article said.

And now, we give thanks.

We thank all the folks that are volunteering this holiday in serving a meal to another--a friend, a homeless individual, a widow.

We thank all those in uniform that are away from family and friends this Thanksgiving sacrificing for our liberty and freedom.

We thank LI donors, supporters, and friends for making the mission of training conservative leaders possible.

We thank our fellow conservative organizations that share similar passions and the vision LI so ardently pursues.

We thank LI volunteer faculty for bringing their professional experiences to our schools and in training new conservative leaders.

We thank those that ran for office this election cycle and their staff that poured themselves into the campaigns, seeing to it that conservative causes are represented at the university, local, city, state, and national levels.

Take time to pause, reflect and give thanks with loved ones this holiday season.

We at LI wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

The Leadership Institute is an educational foundation whose mission is to increase the number and effectiveness of conservative activists and leaders in the public policy process. To accomplish this, LI identifies, recruits, trains, and places conservatives in government, politics, and the media.  Since the Institute's 1979 founding, more than 90,000 people have been trained (with half of those being in the last six years) in one or more of the 40 current programs offered in all 50 states and across the globe. For more information, please visit: http://www.leadershipinstitute.org