Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Day: Plymouth Plantation, the Wampanoag and Being Truly Thankful

Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.  ~Theodore Roosevelt

And of course, there is always this rather erudite version of Thanksgiving by Mark Twain....

Thanksgiving Day, a function which originated in New England two or three centuries ago when those people recognized that they really had something to be thankful for - annually, not oftener - if they had succeeded in exterminating their neighbors, the Indians, during the previous twelve months instead of getting exterminated by their neighbors, the Indians.  Thanksgiving Day became a habit, for the reason that in the course of time, as the years drifted on, it was perceived that the exterminating had ceased to be mutual and was all on the white man's side, consequently on the Lord's side; hence it was proper to thank the Lord for it and extend the usual annual compliments.  

Seems Mr. Clemens was politically correct along time before it became the fashion.  

Read HERE about the Plymouth Colony from The History Channel. 

PBS Pilgrim's Progress 

Thanksgiving Interactive- Plimoth Plantation

The Wampanoag...The People that met the Pilgrims

In response to the question asked in the video...yes a dead language can be revived...just look at the Jewish people and how they brought Hebrew back to life after two thousand years.

When CM2 was in middle school the class took a field trip to Plimoth Plantation. Part of that trip was dedicated to learning about the Wampanoag. Now CM2 could not tolerate going with his class so we made it a family adventure. We went from Plimoth Plantation to Boston and  the Freedom trail. It was actually alot of fun as hubby and I met at Boston University and hadn't been back since we left for greener pastures. Brought back some fond memories, especially when we forced the boys to wonder around the BU campus with us. Honestly it was a great deal of fun (hubby and I even ended up holding hands throughout the excursion). However, one of the more interesting coincidences in my life happened during this trip.

Years ago there was a terrific program on PBS where ordinary everyday Americans tried to live as the Pilgrims or early colonists had lived. They did it for the entire summer. For them it lost its luster rather quickly, however, it was a fascinating program to watch. Now part of that program was actually learning about the Wampanoag and what they meant to the survival of the Pilgrims. The program went into who these Native Americans were and how they viewed the Pilgrim arrival. How they treated the Pilgrims and in turn how the favor was returned, or not returned as the case may be. 

The program even went into how to behave and show respect in a Wampanoag home and village. It turned out to be useful information for us. We were welcomed into the Wampanoag village and I was actually able to ask the right questions as respectfully as I could. I also asked some very patient ladies to explain Thanksgiving from the Wampanoag point of view to the boys. I felt the boys learned an interesting lesson about the history of the United States. 

No I am not suddenly politically correct. Acknowledging certain facts does not mean we should not be proud of what the United States is today and what it means to be an American. But it does mean that we should remind ourselves that for as much as the United States is a beacon of rights and freedoms in our world today, there were some who paid a historical price and these People should not be forgotten.

Meanwhile, it is time to be thankful and review our lives, which is what Thanksgiving should be all about anyway. It is a time for joy, family and understanding. It is a time to review your world and figure out how to become a better person. Be happy with what you have and make the most of what is truly important in this life....each other.

                                                 A  HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO ALL

Until next time,