Appreciate the meaning of Thanksgiving

Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, a holiday that typically brings together relatives to visit and feast on turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and other traditional holiday foods.

According to history.com, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag tribe in 1621 shared an autumn harvest feast that now is acknowledged as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe, taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, extract sap from male trees, catch fish and avoid poisonous plants — all good things to know in pioneer times. He also helped the Pilgrims create an alliance with the Wampanoag, which lasted for more than 50 years and remains one of the few examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans.

History.com also noted that for more than two centuries, individual colonies and states celebrated days of thanksgiving, but it wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Society continues to evolve, with many efforts being made to create a better understanding between Native Americans and non-Native Americans. That’s something for which to be thankful.

Another reason to give thanks is the simple gathering of family members, considering many have moved away from their hometowns and have other obligations. Barring political and philosophical arguments, Thanksgiving dinners are pleasantly memorable events.

It’s easy to get encapsulated, however, and forget there is much for which to be grateful in the world. People are trying to deal with climate change, promote civil rights and keep peace in areas of the world where peace isn’t easily achieved.

It’s also easy to get discouraged about many troublesome news events, which unfortunately are too numerous to mention here.

People should be proactive in making the world a better place, but Thanksgiving is for being grateful for what already is good, and by giving thanks, it puts people in a better frame of mind.

Speaking of giving thanks, some area organizations are offering free community meals on Thanksgiving, which we commend heartily. We hope that spirit of giving continues into the Christmas season — and beyond.

We also hope people take the time to truly appreciate Thanksgiving on its own, apart from Christmas, and nurture that spirit of gratitude.


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