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Thanks-Giving Square: A Celebration of Gratitude in Downtown Dallas

By Kelly Gallagher

Dubbed "the heart of the Silicon Prairie" because of the high concentration of technology and communications companies headquartered there, the city of Dallas was built on hard work and innovation. An active, global city such as this requires a public sanctuary to keep citizens and workers unified, a need filled by Thanks-Giving Square, a 3.5-acre green space in Dallas's central business district. The Square's founding concept is simple: to inspire gratitude for life's gifts and to celebrate not Dallas's economic successes, but rather to commemorate the city's heart, a resource that is much more valuable.

"Thanks-Giving Square was designed to be an oasis, a refuge from the hustle and bustle of the typical business day," says Chris Slaughter, president of The Thanks-Giving Foundation, the non-profit organization which owns and operates the park. "It is a place for people to come for peace and reflection on the many reasons for gratitude in their lives."

In addition to providing refreshing greenery, shade, and the sound of running water to the downtown landscape (including what are believed to be the first trees planted in downtown Dallas), Thanks-Giving Square also offers a variety of attractions, including a museum focusing on the historical documentation of Thanksgiving around the world and a spiral chapel designed by world-famous architect Philip Johnson. The chapel features The Glory Window, a 73-panel stained glass spiral ceiling by French artist Gabriel Loire. Some of the Square's other high-end art installations include a bell tower with three bells cast in bronze from France, a mosaic reproduction by Italian artists of Norman Rockwell's Golden Rule, and The Ring of Thanks, a 14-foot high aluminum sculpture covered in gold leaf, resting on the white granite Circle of Giving.

"Thanks-Giving Square's mission has been to promote the spirit and unifying value of giving thanks in our community, nation, and the world with a focus on encouraging gratitude in action, not just in thought," continues Slaughter.

Thanks-Giving Square is a frequent host for special and regular events, which often include food trucks, entertainment, and a variety of activities to attract visitors in addition to those who visit the Square for exercise, reading and conversation.

Every day, thousands of Dallas-area employees flow into and out of offices and meeting rooms, making significant contributions to global endeavors while supporting themselves and their families. But behind every project completed and every dollar earned, there is a worker putting in his or her time and talents to strengthen the Dallas economy and further business efforts that have the potential to affect their entire industry. Thanks-Giving Square is a gift to those workers, and to the community at large. Perhaps this gesture of gratitude toward its hardworking populace is what has enabled the city of Dallas to rise to the title of the Heart of the Silicon Prairie.

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