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On Thanksgiving Day, 70 years ago, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, and uncles and friends were returning home.
On Thanksgiving Day, 70 years ago, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, and uncles and friends were returning home.
November 19, 2015 7:00 AM CST

The best Thanksgiving ever?

Full Contact Project Management


Every year, we celebrate Thanksgiving in this country. We should: We are a country richly blessed, and we are a grateful and thankful people. As you read this column, try and take yourself back in time, some 70 years ago, to Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 1945. There was a profound sense of relief.

The biggest aspect of that Thanksgiving was a celebration that World War II was over. The war lasted just fewer than four years for America, having begun on Dec. 7, 1941, when Japan attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor. So, come November 1945, the world was more than ready for a Thanksgiving!

There is a famous but very old saying, “Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.” Surely, as a country, we would never forget that history and those cruel and costly lessons, would we?

I was chatting with a young woman at a deli as she was filling my order, when I happened to ask her where she was attending school. I learned she was a freshman at a local college. “What’s your major?” I asked.

“History,” she replied.

“How are your grades?” was my next question, and she was happy to say that she was getting As in those classes.

“Do you know the names of the countries the U.S. fought against in World War 2?” I asked.

She thought hard, and then replied, “Germany?”

I congratulated her on that answer. When I told her the names of the other two countries, she asked, “Japan?” For me, that was a sad day. Do we no longer teach that history, and are we doomed to repeat it?

On Thanksgiving Day, 70 years ago, sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, and uncles and friends were returning home. Families who had gone without contact or with letters only for a year or more were being reunited.

Tragedy had also struck many homes. More than 16 million had served in the military, out of less than 140 million people in the country – or about one in nine. Everybody knew somebody who had served or was wounded. So it’s not surprising that death and injury touched so many homes. And yet, they all were thankful.

So I want to challenge you this year – right now – to honor that time of thankfulness from many years ago by thanking your family, friends, customers and employees this year. Do something different for your business this year. Send out Thanksgiving cards, and let people know how much you value them – and not just as a customer. A great side benefit to a card of thanksgiving is that not many people send or receive them, so your message in the card has less competition than it would otherwise. Plus, you do really value them, don’t you? Let them know.

There are a lot of crazy things going on in the world, and we never know what tomorrow may bring. But we can take some actions today, rather than postponing them for a while. Doubtless, there were more than a few sailors on board those ships in Pearl Harbor who were planning on writing a letter home to parents or spouse or to others. But those expressions of emotion and friendship went unsaid.

Business often imitates life, which can be so fickle. Here today, gone tomorrow. And yet, life does go on. Not all history is bad, for certain, and almost all history has value. But that value remains only as long as we remember where it comes from.

About the Author

Gary Micheloni is a working project manager, speaker, author, consultant and coach. He has severals years of industry experience, including a background as a licensed general engineering contractor. For further information and insight on the Full Contact Project Management approach, write Coach Gary at


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