8 Pennsylvanians to be thankful for

There is a lot to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

And as important as it is to be thankful for a job or home or family or lots of food -- there are many people we should be grateful for as well. Many of whom have passed on, but their ability to make our world a better place lives on.

Since I’m in the state of Pennsylvania this year, why not consider these eight individuals as starting points of praise?

1. Benjamin Franklin
- although he was born in Boston, Massachusetts, Franklin is better known as a Pennsylvanian, spending most of his life in Philadelphia. His resume includes being an author, activist, diplomat, inventor, musician, politician, postmaster, printer, satirist, scientist, and statesman. He is often referred to as "The First American" and is still looked highly upon as one of the most important figures in American history.

2. Louisa May Alcott
- born in Germantown, Pennsylvania, she is known for her literary classic, Little Women depicting everyday life in post Civil War America. She used her influence to be a strong voice in the abolitionist and women’s suffrage movements.

3. J. Presper Eckert - an electrical engineer and a pioneer in the field of computers, along with John Mauchly, he invented the first general-use electronic digital computer. This, along with being the first person to teach a college course on computing, and founding the first commercial computer company, makes him one of the most notable, yet unknown people from the Keystone State.

4. Robert Fulton
- American engineer and inventor who is widely credited with developing the first commercial steamboat. In 1800, he was commissioned by Napoleon Bonaparte to design the first practical submarine in history. His inventions helped usher in an age of faster, more reliable transportation and trade.

5. Fred Rogers
- best known for creating and starring in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Rogers was crucial in the promotion of early childhood education and is noted for saving PBS back in the 1970’s. He testified before congress over the use of VCR’s in 1979 and is often credited with being the savior of video recording devices.

6. Andrew Carnegie
- thought to be the second richest man in history, Carnegie made his fortune in steel. Even though he was mostly known as a shrewd businessman (with a handful of big business blunders), toward the end of his life, he became one of the most charitable individuals ever to walk this earth, giving away almost five billion dollars (in today’s money).

7. Milton Hershey
- American confectioner, philanthropist, and the founder of The Hershey Chocolate Company. No campfire “s'mores” would be complete without this man’s contributions. Not only was he a wonderful chocolatier, his contributions to the social well-being of his employees are known worldwide.

8. William Penn
- as the Founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn was able to set up the colony as he deemed fit and made it a “melting pot”. He is credited with framing many of the principles for the current United States Constitution and is noted for impressing many ideas of the Founding Father, such as: the freedom of religion, an amendable constitution, and that “all men are created equal”. Penn is also credited with fair trade with the natives and the layout of Philadelphia, which was made the first capital of the United States.

Happy Thanksgiving friends!

{All pictures used are in the Public Domain.}

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