Giving thanks in a time of change

TOMORROW marks the 125th anniversary of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. On Oct. 3, 1863, President Lincoln issued a National Thanksgiving Proclamation, setting aside the last Thursday in November for this event. He stressed a ``fruitful land and healthful skies'' and urged the ``imposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation.''

This year, Ronald Reagan - in his final proclamation as President - refers to the ``basic yearning for freedom, peace, and prosperity that has always been the spirit of the New World.''

Mr. Reagan also talks about gratitude for human abundance - rightfully a perennial Thanksgiving theme. And he adds that this thankfulness ``must be tempered with compassion for the needy.''

Thanksgiving is a remarkably American holiday. But its message is global. It is a time when a reminder for spiritual renewal is pertinent. The event itself, however, is unhampered by specific religious creed. It belongs to everyone - Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, as well as those who embrace no denomination or belief.

This is a time when the rich tradition of pluralism flourishes in the nature of the event. Understanding of each other's deepest commitments is in the spirit of Thanksgiving. And it should carry through the year.

A compassionate society cherishes its own abundance, but at the same time shows compassion for the needy, as President Reagan points out.

Change is sometimes accompanied by uncertainties, even anxieties. In the wake of a presidential election, Americans must now pull together and find common ground for resolving political and social disputes. A forward vision is enhanced by a sense of gratitude for past and present good.

So is it with our personal and business lives. Appreciation and gratitude for that which has gone before and for those who have stood for principle - whether they be Presidents or colleagues - is prerequisite for future success.

A kinder, gentler nation, of necessity, expresses gratitude and expects good.

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