Now some of you are asking, “What in the world is this thing?”
This is called ‘Trains-giving’. So you are still puzzled. Allow me to give you an explanation.
Thanksgiving is a holiday that was set aside on the fourth Thursday of November as a day to give thanks to the Almighty God.
Now some of you are asking, “Are we getting religious here? You are beginning to sound like those church people.”
Thanksgiving is a day set aside as a day to thank Almighty God. The Thanksgiving that we are most familiar with is the one that took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts when the Pilgrims arrived in what was the ‘New World’ from Europe to escape religious persecution. They got established here, but they had a hard time surviving. They eventually interacted with the Native American tribe who taught them how to live off the land. This eventually transferred into the big feast that we all have come to know with the main course being that famous turkey that many of us enjoy every Thanksgiving.
Yes, when most of us think about the story of Thanksgiving, we think about the one in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and you can visit Plymouth Rock which is in a cage of steel bars, and you can visit the Plimouth Living History Museum which shows the life of Massachusetts in 1620.
However, that actual first Thanksgiving did not happen here.
It happened in Virginia. The year was 1619. It was on the northern shore of the James River east of where Richmond now stands. What happened at this Thanksgiving? There was no feast like they had in Massachusetts. It was simply a prayer thanking God for their safe arrival. Today, you can visit the Berkeley Plantation that was built on the site of the First Thanksgiving, and you can visit the monument that was erected on the site where they landed and prayed.
Now some of you are saying, “This is so wonderful. I now know the story of Thanksgiving. The problem is that the railroad was not established at the time. None of the Pilgrims or the men who arrived in Virginia rode a train. Therefore, the railroad has nothing to do with the First Thanksgiving.”
You are correct to say that the railroad had nothing to do with the First Thanksgiving in either Massachusetts or Virginia, but since the railroad was built in America beginning in Baltimore and going across the nation, the railroad has been a big part of the holiday taking travelers to and from their destinations. With those passengers, we cannot forget the engineers, the conductors, the porters, the baggage handlers, the waiters, the ticket masters, the mechanics, the track workers and the many people who work hard to get the trains to your destinations on time for your Thanksgiving dinner. Without all of them, the trains would not be taking you home for the holiday, and many of them are sacrificing their time so that you can have time to spend the day with those you love.
At the time I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of those who work on the trains whether as an employee or a volunteer and to those who ride them. Thank you for keeping the trains running all year long.
The Thanksgiving display and train mural is from Hinton, West Virginia.