Thanksgiving: Traditions, reflections, and

Thanksgiving: Traditions, reflections, and gratitude


USBA soldiers serving Thanksgiving dinner

In 1621, the Plymouth pilgrims and the local Native Americans celebrated the colony’s first successful harvest, bringing about the original Thanksgiving. But did you know the U.S. military played an important role in establishing one of our country’s favorite holiday traditions?

During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress declared several days of thanksgiving to help inspire our troops to victory. The first proclamation was made on November 1, 1777, and set the first National Day of Thanksgiving for December 18th of that year.

President Abraham Lincoln renewed the celebration in 1863, during the height of the Civil War. As war raged across the country, Lincoln called for a day of thanks to be held on the last Thursday of November. In 1942, Congress passed a resolution that the fourth Thursday in November would be known as Thanksgiving – and the tradition finally became official.

The day is an annual reminder to reflect on what we are thankful for and spend time with those we love. Here at USBA, we are especially grateful for our Members and all the men and women who so bravely serve and protect our Nation.

Thanksgiving also kicks off the holiday gifting season! Many military-friendly retailers give thanks to service members by offering military discounts of up to 30% off on gifts, decorations, and so much more. Active duty and retired veterans of the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, or Reserves are eligible for discounts at the following retailers:

Details vary by retailer, so please check individual store policies for I.D. requirements and eligible purchases.

Uniformed Services Benefit Association (USBA) is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.

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