I have many things to be thankful for as do most of us when we think about it. Each day we wake up we should be thankful. I know I am. Living is a blessing and it beats the alternative in my eyes. I am also thankful for the wonderful family and friends I have and have made through the years. I have been blessed in many ways and even in some of my darkest times I can look around and be thankful for something.
With that being said I have a question. Why do so many look to this one day of the year to give thanks for their blessings?
With this in mind I decided to do a quick check on what Thanksgiving meant from Wikipedia. Though there are many variations on when Thanksgiving began I prefer the typical historical one concerning Plymouth Rock.
While not the first thanksgiving of any sort on the continent, the traditional origin of modern Thanksgiving in the United States is generally regarded to be the celebration that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in Massachusetts, in 1621. The Wampanoag Native Americans helped the pilgrims who arrived in Massachusetts cultivate the land and fish, saving them from starvation. This harvest celebration occurred early in the history of what would become one of the original Thirteen Colonies that later were to become the United States. This Thanksgiving was modeled after harvest festivals that were commonplace in Europe at the time.
This particular passage was a reminder once again of all the sacrifices made from our forefathers that have made us who we are. It also is a reminder of how people who have nothing in common can work together in the interest of mankind.
The pilgrims in all their infinite knowledge would have starved to death had it not been the Wampanoag Indians who helped them learn to farm and fish. What would have happened if they had not intervened? Which brings me to this next question.
Why do we allow so many Americans to be in the position of facing this reality today?
Rampant unemployment, kids starving, communities in peril, and subtle indifference among many.
The Native Americans saved us and yet in many ways we do not work just as hard in saving our fellow man. We have corrupt politicians who benefit quite nicely from their separatists policies and an American citizenry that in many cases have grown indifferent to the challenges we face together. We have homeless on the streets, and many who are on the verge of becoming so, as well as starving children. I worry about those kids whose only meal in many cases is the one they receive at school.
What do they eat when school is out for the holiday?
So many questions need to be answered but believe it or not I am thankful even for that. Why you may ask?
Because today there is a movement afoot by many throughout the communities asking the question, why?
Why do we have starving children in the richest Country on earth. Why do we sacrifice our soldiers across the globe to help others face these problems at a time when we are ignoring our own here at home? Why do we as a citizenry not stand up and force accountability? Why do we continue to be divided against each other when we all share the same basic principles: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Each year I am reminded once again on this day of just how fortunate I have been. Yes there have been bad times, and there will be again I am sure, but in the end it is those challenges that we meet head on and face together that make us better persons, better neighbors, and better friends.
Today I am thankful for my wonderful family. My wife, my kids, and everyone else. Without each of them I would be nothing. I am very thankful as well for the wonderful meal that I will enjoy later today. I remember on more than one occasion a time in my life when I wasn't sure that a meal would be available.
I remember the sacrifices I had to make while serving my Country and those that my family was forced to make because of my decision to do so.
I also remember each face I have seen through the years when delivering food baskets to the needy, or working with those less fortunate. I remember every tear shed when they realized that they would not starve this day. I remember the children looking at me like I was Santa Claus at Thanksgiving knowing they had a bountiful meal awaiting them.
I am thankful for many things including you the reader who have allowed me a voice to challenge the problems we face together in the hopes of uniting us in a single purpose: making this world a better place for us all.
I may have had struggles myself in my life but God has always seen me through and blessed me in so many ways I could never imagine. My prayer is that He will bless us all though I know He already does.
So for today I ask of you one thing.
While remembering your blessings and being thankful for them also remember that there are others out there who are worse off than you or me. Count them in your prayers and make a commitment today to help make this world a better place. Get involved, adopt a family for the holidays, listen to a child that is hurting.
When that happens I will have one more thing to be thankful for but more importantly. So will you.
Happy Thanksgiving one and all and God Bless.