Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is the most unique celebration on the calendar and it is the quintessential American holiday. Sorry Canada yours ain’t quite the same thing.
Unlike the Fourth of July it is not about patriotism. And unlike Christmas, Hanukah, Easter or Passover it is not about religion.
And it was created right here in America not brought from some distant land.
It is ours and ours alone.
When I was about 7 years old I remember coming home from school a few days before Thanksgiving and I was very upset. We had been learning all about the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, Plymouth Rock and Squanto the Indian who had helped the settlers survive that first winter in the New World.
At recess some kid on the playground was telling anyone who would listen that he was a better American than the rest of us because his family came over on the Mayflower. I am sure his boast would have not set well with old Squanto since he was already here to greet the Mayflower and was a real Native American.
When I got home I asked my mother if I was a good American and I explained to her what the other kid had said. She sat me down, set her jaw, focused those steel gray eyes on mine and put her hands on my shoulders. She was angry. I knew that look and knew what it meant.
“Who told you that?” she said her voice rising. I offered her the name and she said in her very “colorful” way to go back and tell him in no uncertain terms that I was just as good an American as he was. Then I said, “But he says we didn’t come over on the Mayflower like his family did?” She said he was right we didn’t but most of the people in this country didn’t either but that doesn’t mean they aren’t good Americans.
Then with that Irish twinkle in her eye she quipped, “Besides if everyone who claimed that their family came over on the Mayflower actually did, that boat was as big as the Queen Mary!”
I went out to play and felt much better.
And Mom was right.
It makes no difference if you can trace your family to the folks who came over on the Mayflower, recently took your oath of Allegiance as a new citizen or you just arrived last week after years of waiting to come to America to begin your new life.
No matter where your family came from, no matter your creed or religion Thanksgiving belongs to all of us. It binds us together as a people.
From the time you celebrate your first Thanksgiving it will be a part of your life and that of your family.
After all in the end that’s what Thanksgiving is all about—family--and giving thanks for all the blessings that America has bestowed on us all.
And in a quiet moment be sure to give thanks to those in your family tree—whether they came over on the Mayflower or in steerage--who braved the unknown and crossed oceans to build a new and better life for themselves, their children and eventually you.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and may God continue to watch over and bless United States of America.
And remember to save room for pumpkin pie with whipped cream!
Patrick Dorinson blogs at The Cowboy Libertarian. He lives in California.