Picturing Our History

THANKSGIVING: Pictured is a Thanksgiving Army menu from 1945. Pvt. Wayne "Pete" Rishel of Ashland attended this meal at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. (Photo provided by the Ashland Historical Society)

Soldiers celebrate Thanksgiving

Pictured is a Thanksgiving Army menu from 1945. Pvt. Wayne “Pete” Rishel of Ashland attended this Thanksgiving meal at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo. The menu included roast turkey, oyster dressing, giblet gravy, buttered asparagus and pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

The Ashland area has long supported its sons and daughters who have served in the military with pride. In a November 1943 issue of The Ashland Gazette, 34 Ashland businesses sponsored a Thanksgiving advertisement that read: “Let us not forget what time has taught! Preparedness was the Pilgrim’s motto! Thrown upon their own resources in a land of wilderness, the Pilgrims suffered untold hardships. They had made few preparations for the harsh New England winter. The lessons learned from their first year were never forgotten. Ensuing years found them prepared. This Thanksgiving season finds the world engaged in war. Our loved ones are in the armed services on many a foreign shore, as well as in this country. There will be many empty seats at the Thanksgiving dinner table. The festive board will be lacking many items of food, for meat is scarce, we are rationed on some items, and asked to conserve on others. The best of everything must go to our lads in the service. What have we to be thankful for, in a world of turmoil and strife? We have many blessings in a war-torn world. We still have the great freedoms for which our Pilgrim Fathers suffered untold hardships, freedom of worship, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right of assembly, and privilege of each individual to live according to his own desires. We are now engaged in conflict with forces which seek to deprive us of those rights, and we cheerfully forego the luxuries which have made this American standard of living higher than those found anywhere else in the world. We gladly do without conveniences so that the war effort can receive first consideration above all else, and we can be prepared for a complete victory. We bow our heads in thankful prayer that we have ample facilities for defense in our great country, the individuals from shore to shore, who still hold great and good the American life...the principles for which our forefathers fought. We are thankful for our blessings, and look forward to days of peace, by God’s aid.”

For more information on other items from Ashland’s history, visit the Ashland History Museum at 205 N. 15th St., Ashland. The museum is open on Thursdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and by appointment.

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