In honor of Thanksgiving, which has been one of my favorite holidays for many years now, I’ll re-post something I wrote a couple of years ago called “Little Known Facts, Thanksgiving Edition”.
I’m also getting quite a few search hits for it lately, and when I did a Google search for it the other day, that post was number 4 on the list.
Little Known Facts, Thanksgiving Edition
Clearly, those who founded our country recognized the importance of God in the life of our nation. They also understood the rightness of thanking God for his blessings. For example, it was George Washington who, on October 3, 1789, issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation. In Washington’s words, Americans were to set aside “a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God.”
All that, and football games. Three of them this year. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Unfortunately, some of the intellectual lightweights running our school systems are not clear on the concept, where some teachers are told they “… cannot even mention the word “Thanksgiving” this year because ‘the pilgrims offended the Indians’ and ‘Thanksgiving was never intended to be thanks to God.’”
And the most well known example is probably this:
Several years ago, it was reported that Maryland public school students were free to thank anyone they wanted while learning about the 17th century celebration of Thanksgiving. However, they were not allowed to thank God. Instead, Maryland students read stories about the Pilgrims and Native American Indians, simulated Mayflower voyages, held mock feasts and learned about the famous meal that temporarily allied two very different groups. But teachers did not mention that in addition to thanking the Native Americans for their peaceful three-day indulgence, the Pilgrims repeatedly thanked God.
Look, it’s just historical fact, it isn’t pushing anybody to convert. Learn to distinguish between two unlike things. It’s useful sometimes.
It goes on to make the larger point:
We have allowed ourselves to become controlled by our fears. Rather than risk offending someone, we would sooner toss our rich history and traditions on the pyre of political correctness. But such an approach is destined for failure. Indeed, even if you breathe, you are sure to offend someone. What is the result? We gain nothing. We water down and suck the life out of what once gave meaning and direction to our lives. In the end, our children will be the ones who lose out, left with little clue as to where they came from or where they may be going in life.
We have also lost our sense of reverence. Too many Americans have little, if any, gratitude for the liberty and material comforts we enjoy—both of which were made possible through great sacrifice. Heedless of our many blessings, as a nation, we are tempting fate.
My job as a parent, at least in part, is to fight this anti-American-culture trend. I will educate my kids on the true history of the United States, including the powerful role religion played in guiding the Founding Fathers and the resulting documents that have guided us well for 200+ years, and how the freedoms we enjoy today are unique in the history of mankind, and were earned by leaving the blood of some of our best young people on various battlefields throughout the world.
Because it is true. And we do ourselves a disservice when we ignore it, or purposely pay homage to others instead.
Does that mean I think we are a perfect nation? Of course not. There are lots of things I’d like to see changed here; but just because we aren’t perfect does not imply we aren’t pretty damn good.
We provide the freedoms necessary to any person born in this country, or who legally emigrates here, to do just about anything they like, limited only by their desires and capacities.
For most people, that’s all they really want. But most areas of the world are ruled by corrupt thugs and criminals, who have no interest in providing anything approaching a useful economy or the rule of law or the right to own private property to their subjects.
The least we can do, to honor both those who died to protect us from those horrors, and those who designed the documents that protect us from those horrors, is to frankly and honestly assess their contributions throughout history.