Wynton On Being Thankful On Thanksgiving

CBS This Morning. On Thanksgiving Eve, Wynton Marsalis takes a look at where we are as a country today, and what we should be grateful for this holiday.


Turkey may be the ceremonial centerpiece but let’s not forget about stuffing, cranberry sauce and all the comfort and dysfunction that family and extended family bring to the table. Thanksgiving: the mythic meal shared by Native Americans with starving Pilgrims became a symbol of giving to others in need, of accepting kindness with gratitude and of recognizing the temperamental authority of Mother Nature through prayer. It was in response to the bloodiest year of the Civil War, that President Lincoln decreed the final Thursday in November to be the holiday we now observe. Through the years this annual celebration of thanking and giving, praying and cooking has become a sacred tradition. The harder the times, the greater the giving, the deeper the thanks.

Today – we are slowly coming together after a contentious election season. Our candidates expended enormous resources in a divisive debate over the national agenda which strained the very fabric of friendships, families, and communities.

In the North East, victims of Superstorm Sandy, some still without homes, face enormous obstacles. Be it earthquakes in the west, tornadoes in the Midwest or hurricanes in the south, Mother Nature will have her way. Btu we are a resourceful and generous nation. We always grow to the size of the challenge. As we invite fellow citizens to a welcome-table in this time need, let us give thanks for what we have and for we what we have in each other.

November MEANS thanksgiving. EVERY November. This tradition lifts us to a year-end holiday season of grand giving and gratitude. But let’s not overlook the personal traditions of everyday that make our world a sweeter place. We must have our Sunday Service. And what about Mama Lucy’s beauty parlor every other Wednesday, or a few colorful words with Cap’n Bob at the newsstand. Let us give thanks for the personal traditions that give our lives texture and quality.

And there is always much to be thankful for. Human kindness is everywhere around us. It is in the night and day work of those who restored power after ‘Sandy,’ It is in the selfless outpouring of financial and medical aid, and it is no less powerfully present in countless thoughts, hopes and well wishes. Let us pray for those in need AND let us also give thanks to our everyday heroes: grandparents who pick up the slack for parents struggling to make ends meet, artists who perform free of charge in schools, hospitals and homes for the elderly, students who mentor and parents who coach…..Volunteers from all across the nation whose outpouring of concern, caring and compassion create a symphony of giving in the spirit of that mythic first thanksgiving feast. This is a time to recognize and give thanks and pray.

Of all the things we will encounter—glorious landscapes, thrilling adventures, or things we may possess— cars, homes…..nothing will be greater or more impactful than another person. It’s thanksgiving, let’s pardon more than the holiday turkey. Let us give, let us forgive, Let us give thanks.

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  1. Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!

    MTSCR on Nov 22nd, 2012 at 7:13pm