Athens Editorial: Time to Give Thanks


Contributing Writer

A few days ago I looked through my notebook calendar and noticed that Thanksgiving break was coming up very soon. 

I love Thanksgiving for many reasons, and not just because I devote one day to stuffing my face, but also because I get to spend quality time with my family, friends and my beloved dog, Katie.

As I sat daydreaming in class about how my kitchen table would be filled with turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and other delicious treats, I decided to do some in-depth research about how Thanksgiving came to be in the first place.

 I knew it involved Pilgrims and Indians coming together to help each other, but I will be honest, that’s really as much as I needed to know. I just like to eat! To many of you, this might be “old” information but there is nothing wrong with a history brush-up, right? In Sept. 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England with 102 passengers. The passengers consisted of an assortment of religious separatists in search of a home where they could practice religion freely. After a rough 66 days at sea, they anchored near the tip of Cape Cod, quite far from their intended destination, the mouth of the Hudson River. A month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay where the Pilgrims established the village known as Plymouth. During the first brutal winter, most of the colonists stayed on the ship suffering from diseases; only half of the original passengers lived. 

In March an Abenaki Indian greeted them in English, then several days later brought back another Native American named Squanto of the Pawtuxet tribe. Squanto had been kidnapped by an English sea captain but escaped in London and returned to his homeland on an exploratory mission. He taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, fish and avoid poisonous plants. He also united the Pilgrims with the local Wampanoag tribe. They made an agreement to protect each other from other tribes. In Nov. 1621, after the Pilgrims first corn harvest turned out a success, Governor William Bradford put together a celebratory feast and invited their nearby allies, the Wampanoag tribe to give thanks and feast together. The first Thanksgiving brought together people from all walks of life. 

A heart-warming story, right? Well consider this, if it wasn’t for Squanto’s generosity in helping the Pilgrims, the first Thanksgiving might never have happened. So please folks, during this holiday season, be thankful for your life and health, enjoy your Thanksgiving, and remember that one good deed can make a huge impact.