American Indians and Pilgrims' descendants moved toward a Thanksgiving Day reconciliation meeting while other Americans struck up the band for parades and offered bountiful feasts for thousands of homeless.
For millions, Thanksgiving heralded a traditional feast of plates overflowing with turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy, parades by the mile and enough football to keep armchair athletes fixed for hours.Pageant-filled parades were to snake through the streets of New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and Houston Thursday to mark the start of the holiday season.
In the Salt Lake area, several different businesses and organizations opened their doors to feed the homeless and hungry. Hundreds gathered in restaurants, churches and even under a downtown viaduct to partake of a traditional Thanksgiving Day meal.
Volunteers in most cases prepared and served the food.
"I want to help out and this is a way to do it," said Janena Kilsey. "I can't get home for the holidays and this is a way of making it special for me and for others."
In New York, about 4,000 American Indians and descendants of Pilgrims were expected to join in a circle dance of friendship at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine Thursday night, 367 years after the Wampanoag Indians and the Pilgrims gathered for their historic peace-feast in Plymouth, Mass.
"It should be an amazing moment," said the Rev. James Parks Morton. "We, the boat people, will be thanking the natives for giving us Thanksgiving."
"They tried to stamp out our ways, to destroy our culture," said Oren Lyons, chief of the Onondagas who will be joined at the ceremony by leaders of the Hopi, Northern Cheyenne, Tewa Pueblo and other tribes.
"So we come to 1988, and people are realizing the validity of traditional Indian ways in northern America. When people come forward and say `We're sorry, we don't think we did right,' that's very significant."
On the lighter side, the 62nd annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York promised to dazzle an expected 80 million television viewers and 2 million spectators with 24 floats, 14 marching bands, hundreds of clowns and the usual giant balloons of cartoon characters towering five to six stories tall.
Included in the lineup were new balloons, such as Snoopy's featured friend, Woodstock, the Pink Panther and Quik Bunny, the speediest rabbit on Earth.
The world's fastest woman, Florence Griffith Joyner, was expected, along with crooner Frankie Valli and the Osmond Boys, sons of the original Osmond Brothers.
Philadelphia's 69th annual Thanksgiving parade, the nation's oldest, featured floats and balloons, soap opera stars and Miss America, Gretchen Elizabeth Carlson.
In Houston, Foley's 39th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade was marching into its fourth decade with Alan Thicke of "Growing Pains" serving as commentator.
In Detroit, about 750,000 spectators were expected to enjoy sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-40s and low 50s to watch the city's 21/2-hour parade.
But much of the nation wasn't as lucky when it came to the weather.
A Pacific storm has left up to 4 feet of snow in the Sierra Nevadas. Snow or rain also fell from western Washington state to North Dakota. One traffic death in Oregon was blamed on icy roads.