Americans flocked to parades, filled with football stadiums, and more freely gathered for family gatherings on Thursday, grateful for celebrating Thanksgiving traditions again after the pandemic forced many to stay at home last year.
The holiday dates back to the early 17th century, when pilgrims from Europe and Native Americans gathered to share the fall bounty – a celebration of goodwill among the locals who helped the newcomers survive the harsh winter in an unfamiliar country. These days, a long holiday weekend approaching usually causes a travel frenzy as scattered families gather for holiday dinners.
With the skyrocketing deaths and infections from COVID-19 last year, many people have dined turkey with Zoom. Following the lifting of Thanksgiving restrictions, 53.4 million people are expected to travel, up 13 percent from 2020, according to the American Automobile Association.
Air traffic has rebounded sharply, with US officers checking 2.31 million people at checkpoints on Wednesday, 88 percent of the volume checked the same day in 2019. This was the highest volume of checks at checkpoints since a pandemic low of 87,534, set on April 13, 2020. – wrote on Twitter the press secretary of the Transportation Security Administration Lisa Farbstein.
President Joe Biden said the country was “back” by calling NBC’s coverage of Macy’s 95th Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York.
“I want to say that in two years you will be back. America is back, ”Biden said before visiting a Coast Guard station in Nantucket, Massachusetts to thank the troops deployed around the world. “There is nothing that we cannot overcome.”
However, according to Reuters, COVID-19 still infects 95,000 people a day, with more than 780,000 COVID-19 deaths reported in the United States. But now the number of deaths is measured in hundreds a day, not thousands.
Midnight after Thanksgiving also marks the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, offering a snapshot of the state of the American economy.
Retailers began pushing online holiday deals back in September this year as continued supply chain congestion threatened to delay imports. But prices are modest here, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.
Thanksgiving is an occasion to count your blessings, usually over a turkey dinner with a variety of side dishes and desserts.
Like many other organizations, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank is organizing an annual Free Meal Campaign this year, allowing anyone in need to receive a free pre-holiday meal kit.
Victoria Lasavat, food bank marketing manager, said the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity in Los Angeles County. The organization and its partners now serve 900,000 people a day, three times more than before COVID-19, she said.
Thanksgiving “can usually be a very happy time of the year for all of us. However, for our food-insecure neighbors, this could create a different type of uncertainty, ”Lasavath said.
Restrictions on public gatherings eased. Fans packed Detroit’s Ford Field for the first of three NFL games on Thursday, restoring a spectacle that is part of the Thanksgiving tradition. There were no fans in the stands last year.
Likewise, viewers returned to New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after last year’s performance was canceled and closed to the public.
The parade featured giant helium balloons featuring characters such as Grogu, aka Baby Yoda from Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, and Ada, a young scientist from Netflix’s Ada Twist, Scientist.
The Epoch Times contributed to this report.