Dear Kind and Gentle Readers,
Madame L wishes all of you a very happy Thanksgiving Day. She hopes you're with family and/or friends, and hopes your hearts are full of joy and gratitude.
She hopes you'll also say a prayer on Evacuation Day (Nov. 25, this year the day after Thanksgiving) for the brave American soldiers and sailors who were imprisoned in British prison ships during the Revolutionary War. (Over 10,000 of them died on those ships, more than the combined number of Americans who died in every battle during the Revolutionary War.) Evacuation Day celebrates the day in 1783 that the British finally left.
There's a monument in Fort Green Park, in Brooklyn, to those who died in the ships.
Our nation used to commemorate Evacuation Day with boys climbing up a greased flagpole to tear down the Union Jack. Since Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in 1863, though, we've tended to neglect Evacuation Day in favor of overeating on the fourth Thursday of every November.
Madame L thanks Jon Stewart and his guest historian/comedian Sarah Vowell for bringing this day to her attention in their Nov. 17 discussion of Evacuation Day.
Best wishes to all,