Thanksgiving background

America Gives Thanks for Her Many Blessings

Our Festive Holiday Seasons

This article originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 1971 issue of Pioneer Magazine

By Les Goates

this year, for several years past, with our own and other peoples freedom sorely menaced, seems more than ever a fit time for remembrance of that season more than three centuries ago, when this autumnal feast had its origin.

Less than a year before the little band of had landed on , to seek the freedom of religious belief denied them in England, only to face a winter of suffering, hardships and 50 deaths.

Those cruel months were followed by a fair spring and warm summer with plenty of rainfall all of which favored the colonists’ crops. The harvest was abundant, and with the friendly Indian Chief Massasoit and a group of his followers as guests, the Pilgrim folk made a feast that lasted three days.

That was our first Thanksgiving. With nearly half of their number claimed by the winter’s plague; with their habitations ill-prepared for another frigid season and with uncertainty as to their future welfare, they “showed forth their gratitude to God for the good that was theirs.”

To these shores they had brought a hunger and thirst for freedom that made them willing to undergo all manner of privations and defy all dangers. Firm as the barren rock on which they landed was their faith that with God’s help they could conquer the wilderness. And so armed, they won the victory!

For the sacrifices and devotions of these Pilgrim founders, we give thanks. We give thanks for the plenty we enjoy, for peace of mind—whether it is more or less —and for the right to work and for time to play; for sufficient to eat and to share; for our loved ones at home and for friends away and for goodwill toward all people.

And finally, we give thanks for our immortal destiny as a nation; for the faith that America will go on from development to development until it shall become the light of all nations as God has designated for it!

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