Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate and live off the land as well as live in alliance with the local Indian tribe. When the Pilgrims harvested their first successful crop of corn, Governor William Bradford declared a feast for all colonists and Native Americans. This became known as America's "first Thanksgiving."
Why the Celebration?
We celebrate Thanksgiving because it represents the very beginning of our nation, the original viewpoints we were founded upon - freedom, the pursuit of prosperity, diversity and harmony. When Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, it was at the height of the Civil War. Lincoln used Thanksgiving as a platform to bring the nation together to comfort those suffering from the war, which included every man, woman and child.
Even though the nation was up in arms, there was a call to compassion and unity through the declaration of Thanksgiving. Our battles in America today may look different, but they're still very much the same. Let's use this Thanksgiving to take a perspective of compassion, reflecting on what that first Thanksgiving must have been like and mirroring those emotions and attitudes in our Thanksgiving celebrations. If we do this together, it'll be the best Thanksgiving yet.
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