Every year at this time, we are forced to suffer through a stream of articles and blog posts exclaiming "Everything You Learned About Thanksgiving Was a Lie!". These are all over the internet. They are almost always written by people who reject our nation's history and foundational values, and who want to make sure that you reject them too by believing that Thanksgiving is a farce. After all, how can you embrace something that never really existed in the first place? They write the same kinds of articles about Columbus, Thomas Jefferson, etc. I've read dozens of them over the years, and they are always exactly the same. They list a bunch of traditions we do to celebrate Thanksgiving, and then tell us why we are nothing more than ignorant sheep for doing so. "The Pilgrims didn't eat pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce, you ignoramus."
The newest trend is to say that if you celebrate Thanksgiving then you are celebrating genocide. Ugh. These people are so tiresome. They're entire purpose is to try to convince the reader that there is no truth in the Thanksgiving story.
Here's the thing. Not only is there truth in the Thanksgiving story, but the story of Thanksgiving is all about truth. I am going to make a distinction here between "facts" and "truth". If you are a True Corrective student, then you already know this distinction. Yes, some of the facts and details that many Americans believe about the first Thanksgiving are not accurate, but they are also mostly irrelevant as well. Exactly what they ate, what they wore, how many Indians were there and why, are all immaterial to the truths that are contained in the Thanksgiving story. Truths such as the importance of gratitude, unity, love for one another, community, sacrifice, religious freedom, and awe and respect for your Creator. This is the real reason to study history. Facts are important, but only inasmuch as they can be used to discover and convey truth.
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims following their first harvest in 1621. Those Pilgrims who had survived their first year in the New World had a lot to be thankful for. There is only one very short and extremely undetailed account of that first Thanksgiving. According to that account, the general facts are: the Pilgrims and 90 Indians had a three-day feast in November 1621 to give thanks to God. They ate, hunted together, and fired their weapons. Good times.
Two years later in 1623 Bradford issued an official proclamation for Thanksgiving. It is posted below. The truths I spoke of are contained in the words of this proclamation. I don't think you will have a difficult time seeing them.
The myths we create around the past are what we use to proclaim and illustrate truth. So, believe in and celebrate whatever traditions you want tomorrow. Just keep focused on what matters. And thank William Bradford and the Pilgrims for giving us this wonderful American holiday.