Giving thanks

Thanksgiving is a celebration that’s older than our country.

And there are everyday reminders as to why we can continue to be thankful.

You have to start with the Pilgims, who made the decision to leave all that was familiar behind and cross the Atlantic Ocean to a new world. After 65 days at sea aboard the Mayflower, the Pilgrims found themselves on the shores of Cape Cod in November.

They finally came ashore on the western side of Cape Cod Bay in mid-December of 1620 and begin to build their settlement. That first winter was anything but hospitable as more than half the settlers died due to malnutrition and not having adequate shelter to fend off the winter.

What helped to turn around the lives of the remaining settlers was meeting Squanto, from the Pawtuxet tribe, part of the Wampanoag nation. He provided the Pilgrims knowledge about where to hunt, fish and about planting corn and served as a go-between with other Native American tribes.

A year later, 53 settlers realized they had plenty to be thankful for, including their continual survival in this new world. To give thanks, they had a harvest feast and invited members of the Wampanoags, led by Massasoit.

Since that first “thanksgiving,” as more people arrived in this new world and events unfolded in the shaping of our nation, through its birth and beyond, we have been given plenty to be thankful for.

We can be thankful for those colonists, who chaffed under the king’s rule and religious intolerance and who in the process of declaring themselves free embedded in the Constitution rights and the freedoms that are the bedrock of the republic. Americans can be thankful that despite the divisiveness of our politics at times, we the people do have a voice in electing our leaders and a say in the direction of the country.

Americans can be thankful that there are no tanks and soldiers patrolling their streets nor do we live under the constant threat of missiles being launched at us by those interested in wiping us off the map.

We can travel or live where we want. We can choose to practice religion as we see fit and can speak freely on many topics and issues of the day.

And although we suffer through events like a hurricane or tornado, we are thankful that we do not lose hope.

Our nation may have many imperfections, but it remains a beacon of liberty for the rest of the world.

And last of all, we are thankful for family and friends and the ability to share this day with them.

Each one of us has plenty of reasons to be thankful today. Take the time to remember those reasons and share them with your neighbors, friends and family.

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