Our most original American holiday, Thanksgiving, is a time for all of us to count our blessings. In this spirit, I must thank this exquisite city where we are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the appointment of the first United States Consul General in Milan. For a century and a half Milan has been a key center for American business, cultural, and diplomatic ties. Today, Consulate General Milan represents the United States throughout a broad district in northern Italy: seven regions, stretching from Trieste to Genoa, plus the two provinces of Parma and Piacenza. Over these 150 years we have proudly provided consular services to generations of Americans, and promoted the strong friendship between Italy and the United States.
Thursday, November 26th we celebrate the 394th anniversary of the “first Thanksgiving,” in 1621, when the first European settlers in New England shared a meal with Native Americans in gratitude for the bountiful crops following a very difficult year. Since President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 declared the last Thursday in November as a National Day of Thanksgiving, generations of Americans—at home and abroad–have come together to celebrate with family and friends. Many families prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with roast turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Some choose to give back to their communities through volunteering at local food banks and other activities. Thanksgiving traditions are as diverse as America itself, and were highlighted in the USA Pavilion at the Milan World’s Fair.
We are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the huge success of Expo Milano 2015. It was an extraordinary six-month event representing over 145 countries: the perfect platform for global discussion on the theme “Feeding the Planet.” Along the way we discussed vitally important issues and welcomed over six million guests, including First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and many Members of Congress. Much credit goes to the dedicated and hardworking Consulate staff, and I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to my colleagues – American and Italian — for their service and friendship. We always said that Milan was THE place to be in 2015. I believe that the same is true for 2016!
As always thanks to our friends at Easy Milano for their collaboration and dedication. This year they will be organizing once a again a community-style Thanksgiving Celebration open to all. On behalf of the U.S. Consulate General in Milan, I wish fellow Americans and our Italian friends a heartfelt Happy Thanksgiving!
Ambassador Philip T. Reeker
U.S. Consul General in Milan
Consulate General of the United States of America in Milan, Italy