Thanksgiving is the truly American holiday. Christmas is a Christian holiday, Easter is another religious day. Many countries have independence day celebrations, same with national days of pride. But Thanksgiving is only for America, and it is truly American.
On the surface Thanksgiving is the day we eat too much, watch sports, and get ready to buy stuff we don’t need with money we don’t have.
But at its heart Thanksgiving is about bounty, and personal perseverance, and thanking God for the good that comes after the bad.
This year that message hits home even more.
Tristan Justice has a piece over at The Federalist.
The Pilgrims who arrived in what became the Massachusetts Bay Colony 400 years ago almost didn’t make it through their first winter.
Crippled by disease and poor planning, the first Pilgrims landed in Plymouth at the worst possible time to embark on a new settlement. The Mayflower ironically set sail from the English port at Plymouth in September 1620, in a late exit. They crossed the Atlantic over a 66-day voyage that was wrought with seasickness.
The Pilgrims ultimately landed at Cape Cod in November and disembarked to found Plymouth in the middle of December. Most know the tale of the first Pilgrim winter between 1620 and 1621, when the unprepared colonists faced unbearable suffering that played no small part in defining their experience for generations to come as heroes whose experiment in self-government paved the way for a new nation a century and a half later.
He goes on, and fast forwards in history.
Thanksgiving has become an American tradition to celebrate the glass half full even when it’s leaking. It was appropriately at another breaking point in American history then, that Thanksgiving was established as a national holiday. During the trials of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln promoted Thanksgiving to an annual holiday in 1863 after the Union successfully pushed the Confederate Army from Gettysburg.
Even as public health officials demand Americans today cancel their holiday plans, Americans are preparing to come together again amid a moment of turbulence to give thanks to the leaking glass half full, and pay homage to those first Pilgrims pioneering an experiment in self-governance.
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