A Lesson from the First Thanksgiving



This November, 395 years ago, the first celebration of Thanksgiving here in what today we know as the United States of America took place. The story is one for the ages, a tale of two groups of people coming together despite their differences to give thanks and celebrate their health and the good food surrounding them.

Throughout our youth we are told of the stories of Squanto, the Native American who taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn and essentially saved them from doom in the New World. At its roots, though, the story is about so much more than Pilgrims and Native Americans coming together to eat turkey.

This, of course, is the idealized version of history we hear growing up. We do not always hear about how the Pilgrims became gravely ill their first winter or how the Native Americans already living in this country were forced out of their land by new settlers who knew absolutely nothing about surviving in their brand new environment.

The first Thanksgiving is truly about two groups of people from different backgrounds with different beliefs, who may not always see eye to eye or even like each other, for that matter, putting those differences aside for one day (or three in the case of the very first Thanksgiving) to stop and give thanks for what they have and their good fortune.

This theme seems more vital than ever in light of the presidential election. Many people woke up on November 9 feeling hopeless, searching for an answer, or something to keep them going. Now more than ever, we need to band together. Our nation is made up of so many different men and women with many different backgrounds, beliefs and histories. As Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech on Nov. 9, “If we stand together and work together with respect to our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.”

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and the very principles on which America was first founded, let us not forget that, although our candidates of choice may not hold the positions we desired them to in our Senate, our courthouses or our presidency, that at the very heart of it all, we must work together with each other through kindness and open-mindedness.

As long as we remember this, our country will endure, and our greatest victories will indeed still lie before us.


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