This editorial was first published in the November 1947 American Rifleman. Its message of Thanksgiving has stood the test of time.
There will be many editorials written and many sermons delivered during the next few weeks on the subject of America's reasons for thanksgiving. To each writer and each speaker there will appear some particular reason for the call to Thanksgiving. Because to every segment of our society there have come advantages and opportunities of particular benefit and particular appeal. Despite our "intramural" battles, America is well-to-do among the nations of the world—and the average American knows it, though he continues his traditional "beefing."
But with all the writing and all the speaking there will be nothing said, save these few words, about one thing for which America might well give thanks. It is a thing at once tangible and intangible. Scarcely known to the average American, it is rarely thought of as something for which to be thankful, even by those who are a part of it.
Scarcely known to the average American, it is rarely thought of as something for which to be thankful, even by those who are a part of it.
It has contributed much in a material way to keeping the boots of invaders from treading in the living rooms of American homes. It has helped to make possible quick aid to hard-pressed democracies across the seas. It has made American communities better places to live for reputable folk and less desirable places for the thug to ply his trade. It has kept the shadow of tragedy from many an American fireside. It has brought good fellowship and the joy of keen, sportsmanlike competition to Americans of all ages. It has provided the physically underprivileged a chance to enrich their confidence by battling it out shoulder-to-shoulder with their more rugged brethren and emerging victorious.
In its tangible form, it is the National Rifle Association of America. Its intangible form is the ideal of service to the Nation, the community, and the individual which motivates and guides its work.
By keeping alive and expanding the American tradition of individual marksmanship and by defeating the attempts at Gestapo-like control of sporting "weapons which would strangle that tradition, the NRA has played its part in making possible the maintenance of the American small arms industry which, for three generations, has provided the "arsenal of democracy." The sale and issue of small arms and ammunition to civilian rifle clubs and the National Matches have often in peace time been the only means for holding together at Government arsenals the men with the "know-how" so critically needed in war time.
It was the NRA which initiated, twenty-five years ago, the program of police marksmanship training now spread over the Nation.
It was the NRA which first undertook a nationwide gun safety campaign based on fact instead of guesses—a campaign which has done much to correct the public misapprehension regarding the dangers of hunting and target shooting while educating shooters to safer gun handling methods.
Through its junior programs the NRA has created tens of thousands of new shooters, has proven that a boy and a gun need not be a dangerous combination and has saved un- counted homes from tragedy. It has proven, too, that the rifle can be a powerful aid in reducing juvenile delinquency.
President Truman has said: "I hope that the splendid program which the National Rifle Association has followed during the past three-quarters of a century will be continued. It is a program which is good for a free America."
So, as shooters, we can approach the Thanksgiving season with our own particular note of thanksgiving. We will be unmentioned in sermon and editorial, but I’ve have the satisfaction of knowing that the Nation has much for which to thank us. Throughout America there are many fathers and mothers, policemen, veterans, and youngsters who do thank us for the job accomplished and the work under way. —C. B. Lister