The pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in their new home, in November 1621. In 1789, George Washington proclaimed the first Thanksgiving to celebrate the conclusion of the country’s war of independence and ratification of the U.S. Constitution. This year marks another milestone in history. That's why this is a good opportunity to revisit why is Thanksgiving celebrated? It's a time to look at what's truly important in our lives (read History.com's article on Thanksgiving 2021).
Freedom is Why Thanksgiving is Celebrated
Our country was founded by people searching for religious freedom. As we learn more about the countries around the world, we are learning about the opportunities we have that aren't available to others. Whether you've gotten vaccinated or decided not to … you have the choice. That's the freedom we should focus on rather than how we protect ourselves from Covid-19.
As our country opens up to people from around the world, take time think about where you live and why. It's a choice we have once we become adults. Many people are moving away from cities and/or leaving jobs they weren't passionate about. That freedom to move for an education, a career, family, access to a cherished sport or a more comfortable climate.
Thanksgiving is a Time to Connect with Our Families
Few of us have dealt with death close up until this past year. My heartfelt sympathy to all those who lost loved ones to Covid-19.
As we gather this year and think about why Thanksgiving is celebrated, it's my hope we can set aside our differences and cherish what's good in each family member. I realize that is hard but we need to rekindle this love for family, friends and those who make up our community, in order to continue our life journey
Why is Thanksgiving Celebrated? For The Lives We Lead
We lead hectic lives today but when we look back in time, we see that every generation dealt with complex issues that changed our lives. Think about the 1900s which started with the flu pandemic. The US was involved in numerous wars (timeline on History.com) and yet we thrived through all of these things … and will again.
We might not be happy with every aspect of our lives today but overall our lives are going well. Maybe the past year is meant to be a wakeup call that each of us needs to participate in some aspect of making our community, our state, our country … a better place for all!
- Our houses are bigger and more comfortable than any generation before us. Just look at how few windows there are in the pilgrim's house above. There was little light indoors and they didn't have double-pane windows, caulking and insulation to keep their homes warm and cozy.
- Education is a priority in most states so we can remain competitive in the world. Many states provide pre-kindergarten school already and free community college might happen soon if not this year.
- Careers are changing in response to … wish I could answer this one. What's truly amazing is how many people are quitting jobs that don't pay a living wage or provide satisfaction. People learned they could get by with less money during the pandemic so work-life balance might become reality for these brave people.
- Healthcare is improving but many of us want more and faster changes. We have Medicare, Medicaid and Obamacare but it's not enough. Government spending is similar to other western countries but consumers are paying far too much out of pocket. This is an example of capitalism going far … so let's hope drug costs get fixed soon.
- Our social safety net is strong in some states, weak in others. We're all waiting to see what programs get funded by the Build Back Better bill so fingers crossed, you get the support you think we need for your family and others in your community.
Thankful for a Bountiful Feast
Thanksgiving dinner is a reminder of why we celebrate Thanksgiving. The pilgrims invited the Indians who helped them learn what foods to grow and how to fish and hunt. They were thankful that they had enough food to last through the coming winter. They didn't have grocery stores with fresh produce and yummy desserts, yes we're spoiled today. There are many though who won't be able to afford a traditional holiday meal so if you can, consider donating a turkey and canned goods to a local pantry or one of the Second Harvest Food Banks that distribute food to hundreds of thousands around the country.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season.