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So much for which to be thankful

I was about 7 years old, and Thanksgiving was approaching.
As my dad and I talked about the Pilgrims, he asked, “Do you know how they named it Plymouth Rock?”
I said, “No, how?” He said, “When the Mayflower landed, they dropped anchor.
“When they pulled the anchor up, it was hooked to a 1942 Plymouth.”
Armed with this information, I headed to school. That evening, my teacher advised my dad she didn’t need his help.
Well, that old family story will be with us forever. But the more important story is the story of Thanksgiving.
It is a story about thanking God for His blessings, regardless of our circumstances.
To this point, H.U. Westermayer noted: “The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
Thanksgiving celebrations date back four centuries, but it is primarily the Pilgrim’s Thanksgiving in 1621 from which we derive our current tradition.
Setting off to the New World in 1620, the Pilgrims endured a grueling, miserable, 66-day voyage, often tossed in stormy seas.
The Mayflower was a cargo ship with almost no accommodations for the 102 passengers on board. Much time was spent below decks in squalor, and in a space that averaged 4 square feet per person.
When they disembarked in December at Plymouth, they held a prayer service, thanking God, then began building huts.
Totally unprepared for the harsh New England weather, nearly half of them died.
As winter passed, Samoset and Squanto, two Indians from the Wampanoag tribe, came into camp.
Able to speak English, they helped forge a long lasting peace treaty between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians.
Gov. William Bradford referred to Squanto as a “special instrument sent of God for our good.”
The next summer, they had a bountiful harvest.
The Pilgrims declared a three-day feast to thank God and to celebrate with their Indian friends.
Edward Winslow recorded: “Our harvest being gotten in…after we had gathered the fruit of our labors…Many of the Indians [came] amongst us and… their greatest King, Massasoit, with some 90 men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted… And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God we are…far from want.”
Our first national Thanksgiving came in 1789, shortly after after the signing of the Constitution.
The federal register notes:
“Mr. [Elias] Boudinot said he could not think of letting the session pass without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured down upon them.”
As we gather as families and friends for Thanksgiving, let’s remember to thank God, for shedding His grace on America throughout our history, for those who formed our country, for our veterans and first responders who protect it, and for our families who are America’s underlying strength.