Nov 24 (Reuters) – The United States marked Thanksgiving with traditional holidays, parades and American football on Thursday, taking a moment to celebrate in a week overshadowed by gun violence.
The official holiday dates back to the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November a day of thanksgiving and seeking healing. American schoolchildren are learning to trace the holiday back to the Pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 and celebrated the fall harvest with the Wampanoag people. Among Native Americans, Thanksgiving is a day of dark reflection on the genocide that followed.
Americans mourned two deadly shootings this year. On Saturday, a gunman opened fire at an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado Springs, Colorado, killing five people. On Tuesday, a Walmart employee in Chesapeake, Virginia, shot and killed six co-workers and turned the gun on himself.
Those were just two of more than 600 mass shootings so far this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, using the definition of four or more people shot or killed, without a shooter.
President Joe Biden called the two owners of the Club Q nightclub in Colorado Springs, Nic Grzecko and Matthew Haynes, on Thursday to express his condolences and thank them for their contributions to the community, the White House said.
During a visit to a firehouse on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, to thank first responders on Thanksgiving Day, Biden told reporters he would try to pass some form of gun control before the new Congress takes office in January, possibly renewing his attempt to ban assault rifles. weapons.
“The idea that we still allow the purchase of semi-automatic weapons is sick. It’s just sick. It has no, no social redemption value, nothing, none. Not a single reason for it, other than profit for the gun manufacturers,” Biden said, presumably refers to certain guns, as many common and less lethal weapons are also semi-automatic.
Earlier, Biden called the hosts of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, a televised extravaganza of marches, bands and performances by stars, including Dionne Warwick, who sang the classic “What the World Needs Now.”
The approach of the long holiday weekend usually triggers a travel frenzy as scattered families gather from across the country for holiday meals.
Midnight after Thanksgiving also marks the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season and provides a snapshot of the state of the American economy.
American football televised serves as the backdrop for turkey dinners with a bevy of sides and desserts. The National Football League played three games on Thursday.
Thanksgiving also encourages a flurry of donations to the poor and hungry, made more difficult by bird flu outbreaks that have killed about 8 million turkeys, making the big birds scarcer and therefore more expensive this year. Turkey production is expected to drop 7% this year compared to 2021, according to the US government.
Reporting by Daniel Trotta in Carlsbad, California; Additional reporting by Nandita Bose in Nantucket, Massachusetts; edited by Jonathan Oatis
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