On November 28, 1917, World War I dominated local headlines and continued to transform the lives of local citizens.
It weighed heavily on the hearts of loved ones whose family and friends confronted death and destruction on a daily basis an ocean away. Yet, an abiding sense of gratitude prevailed in the American homeland.
The next day, November 29, would be Thanksgiving Day.
“Feast tomorrow, loyal citizens of America!” exhorted a front page column published in the Middletown (Ohio) News Signal the day before Thanksgiving. It informed readers that the paper would not be published the following day, “this distinctive and most significant of our holidays.”
Titled “America God-Chosen,” the column encouraged readers to be thankful for their blessings.
“...This is the most prosperous nation on the face of the earth,” it assured readers. “With us Thanksgiving is momentous and reasonable. The prodigal yield of the fields are ours and we stand first in the financial markets of the world. We have cause for Thanksgiving...Entertain a true and unreserved spirit of thanksgiving while we feed on the bounties God has given us.”
In a column titled “Thanksgiving Day,” an unknown author, perhaps an editor or a local minister, likewise encouraged readers to feel grateful for what they possessed despite the impact of war. The writer comforted the anxious by invoking faith in God :