The City Council of Augusta have appointed … a day of Thanksgiving, Humiliation and Prayer.
– The Augusta Chronicle, 1823
Augusta has celebrated hundreds of Thanksgiving Days and this newspaper has been here to report on 232 of them. Times change … or do they?
1917 – At Camp Hancock, soldiers training for the Great War in Europe enjoyed a “respite from work,” and “30,000 pounds of turkey and as many pounds of mince meat pie.”
1927 – President Coolidge reads his Thanksgiving proclamation over the radio, asking Americans to give thanks for another year of “peace and domestic contentment.”
1936 – Augusta hosts the Wofford-Citadel college football game at the Richmond Academy field. The Citadel won 41-0.
1947 – A large front page photo shows Don McCoy, 3, of the 1100 block of Adrian Street, “riding herd” astride a turkey the size of a small pony. The origin of such a large gobbler would remain the “photographer’s secret,” the caption stated.
1957 – The Rev. Dr. Truman Douglass complained America was forgetting the true meaning of Thanksgiving, which was becoming simply a “build-up” for Christmas and a day “when the sound of Come, Ye Thankful People … is drowned in the din of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer …”
He wrote that a study of presidential Thanksgiving proclamations had gone from our humble past to our self-centered present, where we “congratulate God on having had the intelligence to ally Himself with a people as remarkable as ourselves.”
1967 – The war in Vietnam dominated The Chronicle’s front page with a photo of an American soldier resting after a Thanksgiving Day assault on Hill 875.
1977 – A citywide ecumenical church service was held at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 825 Greene Str. The Rev. Rudolph R. Baker Jr. delivered the sermon to participating churches – St. Paul’s Episcopal, St. John United Methodist, Trinity Christian Methodist Episcopal, Church of the Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic and St. James United Methodist.
1987 – Some holiday. A 73-year-old woman told police a knife-wielding man stole her purse in the parking lot of a Wrightsboro Road shopping center.
1997 – The growing popularity of shopping the Friday after Thanksgiving sweeps Augusta. “This is the bell-ringer for Christmas,” said Jeff Carroll, J.B. White’s store manager in Aiken. “When you get here (Thanksgiving), everyone sort of wakes up.”
2007 – Bertha Jackson and other Greater Young Zion Baptist Church volunteers worked diligently to make sure no one at Lucy C. Laney High School’s packed cafeteria went hungry during Thursday’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. “Once you get it organized, it’s easy,” she said. “It’s like cooking at home.”
2017 – This one’s up to you.
Reach Bill Kirby at firstname.lastname@example.org.