Today, as Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, immigrants from around the world join in the celebration for variety of reasons. Thanksgiving is a time for sharing; a period for families to sit, relax, and eat together reflecting on how far they have come; taking pride in their new country and new situation. The traditional meat for Thanksgiving dinner is turkey. Thanksgiving is an American tradition.
It is said to be conceived when the Pilgrims and Puritans thought it necessary to give thanks for their political and religious freedom, including the progress they had made in the new found land. Painstakingly, the Pilgrims, who left Plymouth, England for political freedom and self-government, braced the dangers of the waters and sailed on Mayflower on September 6, 1620 and arrived about two months later to establish their own colony in Plymouth in the New England area. In autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims began a harvest festival-Thanksgiving that has now become a three-day feast in American culture.
According to IIP DIGITAL, a publication of the United States Government, “Thanksgiving traces its origins to ancient harvest festivals. It became an official U.S. holiday in 1863 under President Abraham Lincoln. In 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed a law fixing Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November.” Though Plymouth was said to have been a place where the first Thanksgiving was held in America, yet there is a debate over where Thanksgiving first took place. Plymouth, a town in the state of Massachusetts, sits on Plymouth Bay and about 55 kilometers southeast of Boston.
Boston, the home of championship teams such as, Boston Red Sox-a baseball club and New England Patriots, is the cradle of freedom. Boston is historically, politically, and academically significant city. It is the home of the Freedom Trail and USS Constitution; home of the Kennedy’s, the Kerrys, and the Senator-Elect, Elizabeth Warren-the darling of the progressives; and the home of Harvard, MIT, and UMASS Boston Campus. It is said that Boston is the primary gateway to many other tourists’ attractions in and around the New England areas. Many people in America relish Thanksgiving Holiday because it affords them the opportunity for a period of rest from their busy daily routine.
Today, we commemorate Thanksgiving for various reasons. This year’s Thanksgiving, however, reminds me of my trip to Boston some years ago to witness the celebration of a special Thanksgiving commemorating Chief Ide Victor Okoye and Atty. Ogo Okoye young six-year marriage anniversary in the presence friends and well-wishers from various parts of the country. Though some people wondered why celebrating a six-year anniversary and not wait for 25 years of marriage commitment.
Well, the spate of marriage break-ups among Nigerians in the Diaspora demonstrates that the survival of six years of happy married life with the same spouse is not too common anymore among Nigerian community, particularly in Igbo community in the United States. Separations, divorces, and or tumultuous marriages among Nigerians in America have become all too common with no end in sight. In any case, today, many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving for various reasons. While the early settlers from Europe celebrated Thanksgiving for political and religious freedom, new immigrants will, in no doubt, commemorate Thanksgiving for economic freedom. Still, others will venerate the Thanksgiving Day for varied reasons.
In this Thanksgiving, however, some people are celebrating the recent victory of President Barack Obama at the polls regardless of recent comments of Gov Mitt Romney. The Republican presidential candidate, Gov. Mitt Romney, speaking to big donors on a conference call, attempted to explain why he lost his bid for the presidency. He attributed his loss to Obama’s “gifts” to women, African Americans, Latinos and young voters-Obama’s “coalition groups”-a characterization that drew a public ire. This was in consonance with statements Mr. Romney made earlier during the campaign when he said, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.
All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” “…These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax,” Romney said.
This time, people seem to consider his comments to his donors more insulting and degrading to a vast majority of the people who voted for Barack Obama. Gov Romney said to them, “With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest was a big gift.” He continued, “Free contraceptives were very big with young, college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents’ plan, and that was a big gift to young people.
They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008.” “You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you’re now going to get free health care, particularly if you don’t have it, getting free health care worth, what, $10,000 per family, in perpetuity – I mean, this is huge. Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group,” Romney expressed. Personally, this year’s Thanksgiving is special to me for obvious reasons. First of all, Thursday, November 22, the Thanksgiving Day, is also my birthday. I am healthy and hearty.
As a result, I’m mostly thankful to God for my family and our good health. As I observe this Thanksgiving Holiday, I reflect on God’s blessings and His kindness to humanity. I asked my daughter, Chinwe Ogechi Orabuchi, a few years ago when she was 15 to list the 10 most important things she was thankful for during a Thanksgiving Holiday. Here is her list: My family, Having a roof over my head, Being healthy, For having friends, for knowing God, F
or having the intelligence I have For having clothes on my body, For having not just a family, but a smart family, For never give up, For just being alive-for living 15 years! Truly, Thanksgiving in America is laced with varied reasons.
However, it is my humble opinion that we should be thankful to God everyday for his blessings and love. It is not enough to remember God’s blessings periodically; we should give thanks to the Almighty every moment of our live for His goodness and grace. You may follow me on twitter.com/achosr.