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Wilbur Cross on Thanksgiving: so much more than a traffic jam

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Nowadays, if you ask most people what Wilbur Cross has to do with Thanksgiving, they’ll guess it’s a traffic jam on the section of highway that bears that name.

But Wilbur Lucius Cross was much more than a road name. The Mansfield native taught at Staples High School in Westport before becoming a professor of English at Yale University, and a noted literary critic.  After he retired, he was elected Governor in 1930 and served four 2-year terms.

In the depths of the Great Depression, Governor Cross’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1936 was praised by many, and memorized by schoolchildren for years afterward.  Cited as example of excellent writing, it moved many with its sentiment to be grateful “…for the brotherly word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed….”

It was popular enough that in 1938 Cross was filmed reading that year’s proclamation – the first time a Connecticut Governor had ever appeared in a sound film.

At FOX61, we’re reminded today to give thanks for you, our viewers and online audience, for trusting us to inform you about the news – good, bad, and in between – in our beloved state, or what Gov. Cross called, “our harvest home.”  Happy Thanksgiving!