Pictured above is “The First Thanksgiving” by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris, a Philadelphia-born artist schooled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and in Paris at the Académie Julian and with Jean Léon Gérôme. In 1900, Ferris began a series of 78 paintings on American history, what was to become the largest series of American historical paintings by a single artist, with the above oil painted in 1912.
Thanksgiving. An annual holiday celebrated around the world to give thanks. A day families and friends gather together to feast and to celebrate the harvest and blessings of the past 12 months.
It all started almost 400 years ago in 1621, when the then Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans came together to share a three-day, autumn harvest feast in celebration of their first year and successful crop in the New World after a very harsh winter and an epidemic of disease (leptospirosis) perished half of the original colonists and 90% of the Native population in southern New England. Giving thanks and being grateful for what they had was important to both cultures. Almost 200 years later, in 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the final Thursday in November as a national Thanksgiving holiday.
Today, the secular holiday of celebrating the harvest and blessings of the past 12 months is observed on different dates around the world—including in Canada, Brazil, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands in the Caribbean Sea, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands in the North Pacific Ocean, American Samoa in the South Pacific Ocean, Norfolk Island in Australia, and Leiden a city in the province of South Holland, Netherlands. Similarly named festival holidays also occur in Germany and Japan.
But this year, in 2020, the Thanksgiving feast and celebration will be different. Here and everywhere. This year, the holiday will have an entire new meaning to all around the world—even with those who do not celebrate the holiday and those who observe the holiday on a day other than the fourth Thursday of November. We all know why.
COVID has changed the world as we knew it, as the pandemic has caused havoc on every continent except Antarctica. Most people now live their lives differently and run their businesses differently. Not only has it has changed how we work, but how we interact, socialize, and live day-to-day.
Many Thanksgiving plans and traditions will be thwarted due to travel restrictions and local health regulations, causing most celebrations to be downsized. Some will be a virtual gathering at best. While others have canceled the holiday altogether. But for those assembling spaciously around a table to give thanks on November 26, many will come up with new ways to make the holiday meaningful and many will be thankful for life’s simplicities, such as having a roof over their head, their health, their loved ones’ safety, and the food on the table during a time of world crisis.
During this challenging time of uncertainly, Rajant continues to count its blessing and sails forward. The year has been full of change and growth from the new warehouse automation, action sports, entertainment markets, and emergency response rapid deployment kits for mobile field hospitals to creating a new AI department, expanding HR, hiring additional hardware and software engineers, signing on new partners, and moving forward with the manufacturing expansion facility in Morehead, KY to launching BC|MeshMapper and two new BreadCrumbs®, the Peregrine and Hawk.
“I don’t come to work every day for us to be smaller. We have to change a lot,” said Rajant CEO Robert Schena on 2020 and the COVID pandemic. “Product mix, pace, urgency, verticals—what we thought was normal or expected of January 31st—is irrelevant now. But plans ultimately mean nothing without execution. It’s the daily grinding it out by every employee that makes any plan have a chance of working. And, I come to work every day knowing that I am lucky enough to be surrounded by exceptional people. This team will succeed. I’m betting on them.”
So, come this Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., Rajant will not only be thankful for its 2020 accomplishments but for its hardworking employees and dedicated distributors and integrators who have made 2020 possible. For without the people, who are at the heart of Rajant, all would not be possible. 🖉