I sure didn't realize the real story behind the holiday called Thanksgiving

My parents didn't either.

I was under the impression until I was in my 50s (I am 62 now), that Thanksgiving was a celebration of the gratitude of the Pilgrims and the local Indians (native Americans) for the cooperation and fellowship they shared in the early years.

I was very surprised to learn that the practice of giving prayers and acknowledgement of thanks to God had been a tradition throughout the history of man and usually took place in the Fall after the main harvests.  Thanking the heavens and mother earth for the bounties.

But the SPECIAL celebration in these United States of America was that the people of our country fully believed that it was divine providence (God's hand) that gave us our victory over the King and military force of the King.  It started in 1789 and was turned into a national holiday many years later.

Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789

Thanksgiving Proclamation [New York, 3 October 1789] By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas 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 to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

I am sad that this important information was kept from me, but I am very glad and full of Thanks that I know it.

The link below is a very nice accounting of the proclamation by President George Washington.