Some Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Later this week, we celebrate Thanksgiving – a time to spend with family to reflect upon our lives and lend appreciation to our nation’s humble beginnings, marveling at how far we have come.  Tradition dictates that we admire that first autumnal feast of 1621 and the early Plymouth, Massachusetts settlers whom we now recognize as Pilgrims.

The debated mistreatment of Native Americans by the Plymouth Colony has in recent years tarnished the storied reputation of those Puritans who reached the New World in November of 1620.  Like the often vilified Christopher Columbus, the Pilgrim story, under the guise of political correctness, has lost some of its luster since I was a child.  Society has become more forthright about the atrocities that have historically plagued native populations in America.

Nevertheless, one must respect the dedication and bravery of those early settlers to venture into the relatively unknown and undergo such a dangerous journey across the Atlantic in pursuit of religious freedom almost four centuries ago.  They weren’t daring young explorers, nor were they well-equipped or promised riches and fame by sponsoring governments.  They were modest men, women and children, simply searching for a place to live without threat of constant persecution, free to begin anew.

The Pilgrims pioneered bartering and trading methodologies among other settlements of Europeans and native tribes alike in a sparsely populated land that would eventually be called the United States.  Their fear, their fortitude, their ingenuity birthed many aspects of our modern capitalistic way of life.

We must remember those who came before us, and learn from their triumphs and their mistakes.

Those of us at Petersen International wish you a Happy Thanksgiving.


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