PHILADELPHIA, Pa.—America’s oldest Thanksgiving Day parade drew thousands to downtown Philadelphia Thursday morning to celebrate the national holiday.
A cheering crowd watched the three-hour parade on Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the city’s 103rd such event.
Parades include giant floats, singers, dance groups and marching bands.
Brad Howell told The Epoch Times that he felt “very grateful”.
“I love Thanksgiving, a great holiday,” said Howell, who watched the parade with his family.
“We live in this great land of America. It is the land of freedom and liberty,” he said. “We are grateful to our Creator, God, our heavenly Father, who has blessed us with all things, and grateful to be here with all our brothers and sisters.”
“I think it’s important every day that we take a moment to express gratitude for the many things we have,” Howell said.
“I think living in gratitude is probably the most important character trait we can try to develop in our lives. If we are grateful, all other great virtues will follow.
Philadelphia Mayor James Kenney told The Epoch Times that Thanksgiving is one of his favorite holidays.
“Because there’s really nothing to get all intense about or get all crazy about. It’s a nice quiet day. You’re with family or with friends. It’s turkey and football. And then you take a nap.
Kenny said he was very grateful for our country “where you can have what you want, you can have anything you want.”
“And then there are also opportunities to help people in need, and that’s what groups like this do. And they do it well, and they’ve been doing it for years.
The group Kenney was referring to was the Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance (MANNA), which has volunteers near the parade’s starting point, delivering Thanksgiving meals to 4,000 people in Greater Philadelphia who are terminally ill or terminally ill.
Thanksgiving in America is based on a 1621 fall harvest feast shared by the English Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday that has been celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year since.