If memory serves me correct (and thanks to James, it was refreshed by what he’s learned throughout elementary school) the Pilgrims came to America to seek freedom from religious persecution from the Church of England. So the Pilgrims set up hearth, home, and church – under the wary eye of the soon-to-be-vanquished indigenous people already living on this land – and gave thanks with a large feast.
The Pilgrims, free from the Church of England, had set out to establish their own nation and pay tribute to their ability to survive. While there is another Thanksgiving truth that is often left unsaid, I’m not about to argue what went down 400 years ago. Here in the 21st century, I’m thankful for my family and grateful for my freedom. I hope that these values are shared by my fellow Americans.
Freedom’s just another word for nothing left lose.
When I think about being thankful, the line from “Me and Bobby McGee” as recorded by Janis Joplin; lyrics by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster, comes immediately to mind. When the Pilgrims came to America they were free with nothing left to lose. Today, we have many wonderful rights and freedoms that we can enjoy thanks to our Founding Fathers more than 100 years after the Pilgrim Thanksgiving. The original Bill of Rights – that bit of paper amended to the constitution because it wasn’t good enough – consisted of ten amendments that became part of the Constitution. Since then, more have been added like Civil Rights and Women’s Suffrage.
Over time I’ve come across some interesting examples of how folks exercise their freedoms. Perhaps you’ll explore these, talk about them during dinner, or share with someone close. As I look forward to spending time today with family and close friends, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.
- Express our ideas, known as freedom of speech, like posting a video called “It’s Thanksgiving” on YouTube. It’s a terrible song that’s received 8 million views. Thank goodness 12-year-olds are free to sing and post terrible songs on a viral platform. (Check out the very funny article about it)
- Do something that scares us, like choosing a religion.
- Write whatever we want about any subject no matter how taboo or uncomfortable it makes others feel, which is called freedom of the press.
- Occupy Rochester is one of many protests we can hold, which are referred to as freedom of assembly
- Texas (one of many other states, apparently) had petitioned to secede from the United States because folks wanted a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents – it’s called freedom to petition
- Support animal rights but also support the right to bear arms may sound hypocritical, but then again, maybe the author’s on to something
- Choosing to live an unconventional life because you’re free to live and travel anywhere
- Even poultry has a right to a fair trial
- You have the right to marry and raise a family however you choose in this age of the Modern Family
- Questioning our right to receive a public education with a thought-provoking manifesto