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Thanksgiving PSA: the more you know!
Happy
theamyrlin
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the concept of it, and I'm not talking about the Pilgrim and Indian Story. I've done some digging into the roots of Thanksgiving, because at first I thought it was just a myth -- pilgrims and Indians sharing food together? OK, then. I come to find out, though, through very reliable sources, that the pilgrims and Indians did actually eat a meal together. Twice.

Having a special day to give thanks is essentially a Native American tradition, which is why I don't understand why anyone would have a political problem with the holiday. It's a salute to those who lived on the American continent first: a nod to their traditions. Anything wrong with that? I can't think of anything.

As a national holiday, Thanksgiving was first proclaimed by George Washington in 1789. Thomas Jefferson later revoked the holiday, claiming it crossed the line concerning the separation of church and state. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday, and it has been around (though not always on the same Thursday in November) ever since.

The concept: gratitude. As a virtue, it is probably one of the most important that anyone could have. A grateful person is a kind person. Gratitude cultivates all other virtues: generosity, humility, honesty, benevolence, etc. I believe that people who have grateful hearts have happier lives. The lives we lead here in America are so filled with surfeit. We have so much to feel thankful for that it is necessary that we have a day of thanks.

When you think about it, Americans have more than one day of thanks. We have days where we are thankful for very specific things: Memorial Day, Veterans' Day, Presidents' Day, Martin Luther King Day, Arbor Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparents' Day, etc. I think a lot of times we forget exactly how lucky we all are.

And to put that into perspective, I present you with the following statistics: If you woke up this morning healthy -- you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week. If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the fear and loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pain of starvation -- you are better off than 500 million people in the world. If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep -- you are more comfortable than 75% of the people in this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace -- you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy. If you can read this, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

This Thanksgiving, be grateful! I know I am so grateful for all that has been provided for me. And, gratefulness is not easy for me. Mostly because the day -- the very day -- in the morning before I was in a car accident that made me paralyzed from the shoulders down, I had thought to myself, "I'm so glad that I can walk, and that I can experience nature by walking down this riverbed. I love my legs!" And I fervently thanked God for my legs. So, it makes me very scared to be genuinely thankful for the things that I love. (Sidebar: When I thought those thoughts about my legs, it seemed to me that there was a vision of myself in a wheelchair. Not as a direct thought, but kind of like how one would see something with peripheral vision; it was a peripheral thought.)

I love my life. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate: I have a great family, excellent friends, a good education at a beautiful school, and technology that makes my life so much better. I may not be as thankful as I should be, but I make it a point not to take these blessings for granted.

In conclusion: yay Thanksgiving!

That is all.