National Family Week celebrated the week of Thanksgiving
Adley Ingram and Amanda Ingram color quilt squares at American Legion Post 37 Family Play Day event in Ames, Iowa, on Jan. 25, 2020.

National Family Week celebrated the week of Thanksgiving

For more than 45 years, the week of Thanksgiving has been proclaimed National Family Week. A guiding principle of The American Legion’s Children & Youth programs is maintaining the integrity of the family. Nov. 22-28 will mark this year's National Family Week where American Legion Family members are encouraged to promote, encourage and celebrate healthy families and communities.

Download The American Legion’s National Family Week brochure for further assistance. While the current pandemic hinders organizing or participating in activities that promote family strength as mentioned in the brochure, post members can get creative in their efforts with reaching out. For example, posts can communicate with local military families about the needs they may have if a loved one is deployed.

The observance of National Family Week was initiated by Sam Wiley, a teacher, basketball coach and school administrator in Whiteland, Ind. Wiley "observed the stark difference in children who came from strong, supportive families and those who were not being raised in a traditional family unit," according to the National Family Week website. He conceived of the idea to set aside a time during Thanksgiving – when families traditionally gather to give thanks for their many blessings – "to recognize the important role family plays in our society." National Family Week was first proclaimed by President Richard Nixon in 1972.

During President Ronald Reagan's first National Family Week proclamation, he stated that "National Family Week is a time to be thankful for the family as a national heritage and resource. It is a time to recommit ourselves to the concept of the family – a concept that must withstand the trends of lifestyle and legislation. Let us pledge that our institutions and policies will be shaped to enhance an environment in which families can strengthen their ties and best exercise their beliefs, authority, and resourcefulness. And let us make our pledge mindful that we do so not only on behalf of individual family members, but for AMERICA.”