The year was 1621. Not far from here, a ragtag group of Pilgrims gathered for an outdoor feast to celebrate their survival in a hostile new land.
They gave thanks for their first harvest - one that would hopefully see them through another winter. Little did they know the bitter months ahead would be such a hardship.
Of course, it was not the fourth Thursday in November when this original celebratory repast occurred. The date that we now recognize as Thanksgiving Day was officially set aside as a national holiday some 65 years ago.
Today, our Thanksgiving is steeped in tradition, myth, and legend. For many of us, Thanksgiving is quite a festive time. It is the most traveled holiday of the year, a time for farflung families to get together.
The Thanksgiving dinner fare usually includes roasted turkey and pumpkin pies, among other dishes. There are parades and football. Those original Pilgrims would never recognize the holiday we observe today.
Without doubt, Thanksgiving is the gateway to the holiday season, though many merchants have tried to lengthen the gift-shopping spree to include the weeks after Halloween. Commercialism reigns.
Compared to the Pilgrims, our lives are much easier now. We don't have to battle the elements and worry about survival, but like those Pilgrims before us, we do have much for which we can be thankful.
Here in Jamestown, we can be thankful for our quality of life. This year we should also give thanks for our nation's freedoms and remember those men and women who go in harm's way far from home to protect those freedoms.
We hope your Thanksgiving is filled with joy, laughter, and love. May you be surrounded by those family and friends you care about.
Please help those who are less fortunate.
And, finally, take a moment to reflect upon everything you have to be thankful for.