Thanksgiving is a special time of year. More than a prelude to a crass commercial time, it celebrates a recognition of God not only in the creation of our nation, but in its exceptionalism and all the freedoms and responsibilities entailed in maintaining such graces. It calls on us to pause and give thanks to all present and past who have sacrificed for our nation, our states and our families. It is a time to give thanks to the Almighty for the many and great blessings of America, just as our Founders did, the colonists who preceded them and every generation since, no matter how bountiful or bleak the times. It may be coincidence, but the peaceful late fall couldn't be a better time for such a weekend. The quiet of the streets, the briskness of the air, the tint of the sky and the remaining foilage all are perfect accents by which to reflect. Having dear friends and families with which to reunion makes it a more precious time still.

On behalf of the board, staff, volunteers and grassroots activists across the commonwealth, The Family Foundation of Virginia wishes all Virginians a safe, happy and bountiful Thanksgiving weekend. In recognition of this uniquely American holiday, and Virginia's role in it, we commend to you Governor Bob McDonnell's proclamation recognizing November 25 as Thanksgiving Day in Virginia.

WHEREAS, the first permanent English speaking settlement in the New World was established in Virginia at Jamestown in 1607, as Captain John Smith led a group of settlers across the Atlantic on a voyage that would entail much hardship over the coming years, including disease and starvation; and

WHEREAS, to show their appreciation for the colony’s success and to take stock and give thanks for their own gifts and blessings, and in spite of tremendous adversity, the settlers in Virginia found time to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in America at Berkeley Plantation on December 4, 1619; and

WHEREAS, while reflecting upon the actions taken by the colonists at the first Thanksgiving, we also honor the Indian peoples, for without their presence, the survival of the colonists would have been ever more difficult; and

WHEREAS, American leaders and citizens have recognized a day of Thanksgiving since our first president, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789, stating “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor”; and

WHEREAS, it is a Virginia tradition for our citizens to come together in unity on Thanksgiving Day and give thanks for the great level of serenity, harmony and abundance with which we, as citizens of a free nation, have been blessed; the rule of law by which we peaceably govern ourselves and by which our civil and religious liberties are guaranteed; and the brave servicemen and women of our armed forces who risk their lives to defend the freedoms and blessings we cherish;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Robert F. McDonnell, do hereby recognize November 25, 2010 as THANKSGIVING DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens; and

FURTHERMORE, I encourage all Virginians to give thanks to our Creator for our plentiful blessings, including the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as well as the unwavering strength of our families and communities.