Thanksgiving traces its origins to a 1621 feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where English Pilgrims and Wampanoag Native Americans came together to celebrate a successful harvest. This event is often considered the first Thanksgiving and was a three-day gathering featuring shared meals and expressions of gratitude. Over time, Thanksgiving evolved into a national holiday in the United States, officially proclaimed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
During World War II, Thanksgiving took on added significance as families across the nation gathered to express gratitude for the safe return of their loved ones in uniform. The holiday served as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by servicemen and women, with many veterans sharing tales of camaraderie and resilience amid the challenges of war. Post-war, Thanksgiving became a cherished time for families to reunite, honoring the courage and contributions of those who had served in the conflict.
US military personnel continue to serve their country both at home and abroad, and for those serving in the United Kingdom, Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for tradition and normality amongst a tight-knit community in a foreign land. This year, members of Strictly GI were given the highest honor of attending a Thanksgiving Day celebration with serving US military personnel of CWG-6 Detachment Digby (Cryptologic Warfare Group SIX), a joint operations unit stationed at RAF Digby. The event was held at former RAF Metheringham, and our members were invited to join the unit's troops for a truly American Thanksgiving meal, deep fried turkey included! A total of 5 vehicles were displayed for the visiting GIs, with members more than happy to discuss the differences (and similarities) between the US military during World War II and today. The group's attendance was extremely well received, and we look forward to partaking again in next year's annual event.
On this, Thanksgiving Day 2023, Strictly GI extends its sincere thanks to all military personnel, past and present, stationed across the globe in their plight for peace and fight for freedom.