Thanksgiving: The Spirit of America
Written by Jay Turo on Monday, November 23, 2009
Thanksgiving is thequintessential American holiday. It acknowledges the best qualities ofour blessed land - rewards for hard work, diversity as strength, andthe "attitude of gratitude" toward which all of us strive.
Asevery school boy and girl knows (or, in our 21st century world of videogames and politically correct education, should know), Thanksgivingtraces its origin from a 1621 Pilgrim harvest feast to celebrate a successfulgrowing season and survival after an extremely difficult first winterin the New World.
And at that harvest feast these Pilgrims from England and the original inhabitants of the area - the Wampanoag Indians - sat down and ate together in a spirit of friendship and camaraderie. The Pilgrims owed their survival to the goodwill of the Indians, whohad taught them how to grow corn and how to fish in the very unfamiliarNew England (now) soil and seas.
What a story. If it doesn't get you going, then you aren't even trying. Let me help:
First, let's reflecton the incredible guts, tenacity, sense of adventure, and justunbelievable hard work and perseverance of the Pilgrims. It beyonddefies our modern, cushy-soft sensibilities. Let's channel thetoughness of the Pilgrims when tackling the challenges of our modernday - health care, deficits, China, et al.
Next, while thehistory of the white man's treatment of the native peoples of Americain the last 500 years has been mostly shameful, let's reflect onthat happy day of brotherhood.
Let's all be proud of thehistorically unique diversity of modern America. Doubt me? Spend theday as I did yesterday with my 2 and 3 - year old boys at LegoLandin Carlsbad.
As we sat building towers and cars and the kinds ofplanes that only fly in little boy's imaginations, I looked to my leftand I saw an intent Indian boy and his father hard at work.
To myright, an African-American girl directing her Daddy how she we wantedit done. Behind me, a family with Asiatic features happily building.
As for language, only me with my thick Massachusetts accent spokeanything but perfect English.
There is NOWHERE on Earth this scenerepeats itself as often and as peaceably and as productively as it doesin America. Japan? China? The Middle East? Europe? Hah!Still mostly medieval in their perspectives on these matters, and inour information age America has a MASSIVE leg-up because of it.
And finally, let's give thanks. Iam not proud of it, but I am still addicted to reading the Sunday NewYork Times. And what a tale of woe it is. And while I know the #1 ruleof modern media - "if it bleeds, it leads," please just stop.
Betweenthe dire talk of global warming, global terrorism, and global finance,if you don't catch yourself you can't help but feel sorry for not justyou, but for all of humanity.
It is 99% bunk. The world has NEVER offered more opportunities for a larger percentage of us tolive affluent lives, to do self-expressive, remunerative work, and tobe amazed daily by the wonders of modern technology and entertainment than it does right now.Be grateful for all that and more.
Happy Thanksgiving to all. May your holiday be blessed withthe rewards of hard work, of breaking bread with family and friends newand old, and with an attitude of gratitude for the bounties the futurewill most definitely hold.
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