Letters for 11-16-2017

Thanksgiving offers chance to re-learn valuable lessons
Thanksgiving provides an opportunity
for each of us to do something more
than over indulge on delicious food.
We should use the day to consider
lessons learned at various times in our
nation’s history and apply them to our
lives today.
In 1620, 100 people boarded the
Mayflower in England and embarked on
what became a 66-day journey across
the Atlantic. They were headed toward
the unknown. More than just a few were
aware they likely would never return
to England. Certainly that had to be
the thinking among 40 of the Pilgrims
aboard, members of a Puritan sect that
had split from the Church of England.
They sought a place safe from war-torn
strife and religious persecution or that
simply promised a better way of life.
After first making landfall on the tip
of Cape Cod, it was a month before
the Mayflower eventually anchored at
For strangers in a strange land, life
was filled with hardship. Almost half the
colonists died that first year. Those who
remained persevered and built their lives
here. They succeeded in establishing
a settlement with the help of Native
Americans who lived in the area. To be
certain, there were other Natives who
looked with suspicion and hostility at
newcomers. But it was goodwill and
friendship that took root. That allowed
life among the Pilgrims to improve to
the point that a successful harvest was
worth celebrating, and they invited and
the Native Americans living in the area.
That event so many years ago was
our first Thanksgiving. It is a story
wrapped in the struggles of some and
the willingness of others to reach out
and lend a helping hand.
Thanksgiving, too, is an opportunity
that has been used to unite the nation.
Abraham Lincoln understood this in the
midst of the Civil War. He announced
that the last Thursday of November
would be marked by the nation and its
citizens “as a day of Thanksgiving and
Praise to our beneficent Father who
dwelleth in the Heaven.”
These are words that should resonate
with us today. Flaws and all, we have a
lot to be thankful for, individually and
as a country.