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canceling thanksgiving

2021 marks the 400th anniversary of Thanksgiving Day—America’s oldest tradition, celebrated by almost every citizen, native-born or newcomer. No matter where in the world Americans find themselves on the fourth Thursday of November, they gather to give thanks—fulfilling the prediction of Sarah Josepha Hale, the 19th-century magazine editor by whose efforts Thanksgiving was transformed into a national holiday.

Thanksgiving demands that no one be excluded. The widowed aunt, the grouchy grandpa, the coworker with nowhere else to go—customarily receive invitations to Thanksgiving dinner. Americans on the margins of society are enfolded into the celebration by the generosity of religious organizations and philanthropies. Everyone has a place at the nation’s Thanksgiving table, regardless of circumstances or creed.
Condensed from an article by Melanie Kirkpatrick.

Unfortunately Thanksgiving is increasingly under assault by those who want it canceled. In our woke era, it’s become a fashion to attack Thanksgiving as cultural or environmental exploitation. Thanksgiving Day 2020, vandals in several cities—under the guise of advancing Native American rights—smashed storefronts and defaced statues with the slogan “no thanks”.

The relationship between Native Americans and Thanksgiving is complicated.

One activist noted that Native Americans identify both as Americans and as members of a specific Indian nation. Many Native Americans value Thanksgiving as a day set apart to pause and count their blessings. Still, it is tricky; the holiday represents the beginning of a tragic period for Native Americans. All Americans should honor their history.

The central theme of Thanksgiving since 1621 is thanks to God, gratitude for the natural richness of the North American continent. In the words of William Bradford, Pilgrim governor of Plymouth Plantation, “Instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed to the rejoicing of the hearts of many, for which they blessed God.”

Many myths surround the First Thanksgiving, but the essential facts are these:

In the late summer or autumn of 1621, 52 English survivors gathered with 90 Wampanoag warriors for a three-day feast. The Wampanoag were the indigenous residents of the land on which the English had settled, whose generous assistance made it possible for the newcomers to thrive. The two peoples signed a peace treaty, which lasted for half a century.

The central similarity between the First Thanksgiving and every subsequent one is something less tangible: a spirit of gratitude. This year, as we mark four centuries of Thanksgivings, Americans will do what we have always done: We will express our gratitude with acts of hospitality and charity. And many will offer prayers of thanks to God. ~

Happy Thanksgiving,
Dan Nygaard