Thanksgiving is here. The only truly American Holiday. It is the one holiday that was really birthed by our Pilgrim and Puritan roots in the rebellious colonies. For a few hundred years it was observed when people were truly thankful for something. A fine harvest, great health, sometimes a military victory could spur a thanksgiving feast. The term Thanksgiving comes from a true thankfulness to the creator of the universe, a.k.a. God, for the abundant blessings given to us on this earth. When the colonist felt particularly “thankful” they called a feast.
This time was full of joy, eating, and family. In true American form the political parties have fought over it for generations. Many years it wasn’t observed nationally, just region-by-region and tradition-by-tradition. FDR moved the day a week and caused a fracas in which some states went along, some didn’t, party lines jumped in defending Lincoln’s choice of the day … blah, blah..
Maybe the Federal Government shouldn’t declare it at all. Wouldn’t it be cool if people really were thankful to God. SO thankful in fact that they wanted to throw a party about it. Let’s go a-fowling! That means let’s go kill some birds. Load up the shotguns and go shoot some big-fat-turkeys. Cook up some green bean casserole, some pumpkin pie, maybe some corn, stuffing, bread, jelly and then add whatever your family or region specializes in! In Iowa we usually add some ham and mashed potatoes and gravy. In the South or North East it could be different, out West, who knows, but the main idea is delicious turkey shot wild from our abundant fields.
Of course, almost no one does that anymore. Most people get a de-feathered, beheaded, de-gutted, completely clean, blood free, frozen, shrink-wrapped-in-plastic turkey shaped object for their bountiful feast. I realize our world has changed. A smaller percentage of us would have any idea where or how to go shoot a wild turkey. Let alone what to do with it once it was dead and hanging by its head in the garage.
Don’t get me wrong, I love eating too much food and lying around watching football all afternoon on what we call Thanksgiving. That seems pretty darn American to me. Let America create a holiday and you get … eating, drinking, and laying around. What an awesome country. I’m not complaining really, I’m just saying that maybe if, as a people, we actually connected the event to being thankful for something it might mean more. Currently, we have a federally mandated yearly event that means we get some days off and Black Friday. Do we feel a humble thankfulness before God? Not so much.
Just think about it. What if when we actually accomplished something great as a people a ‘Thanksgiving Feast’ was called. For instance, when the war in Iraq was declared “won” or maybe even after the killing of Osama Bin Laden. What if our President came on television and said, “I declare next Friday a feast of Thanksgiving because we have been blessed as a nation with success from our Creator. Our Kick-Butt-Navy-Seals were blessed by God and killed our enemy, our nemesis, the evil killer of our citizens, who we have been hunting for a decade. All work is cancelled Thursday and Friday. Go fowling! Shoot a wild turkey, you don’t need a license. I’ve instructed the Department of Natural Resources to give everyone a pass. Have a feast with your family, pray to God, and be thankful for the abundance of our great Nation.”
Wow … what a feast that would be.
I hope some future president reads this and does it. What an amazing and unifying moment for the country. It would be a bold declaration of humility before God as a people. Democrat and Republican alike could actually bend a knee together and rejoice for our lives and our freedoms. They could go back to arguing on Monday. As a nation we would all partake in the abundance of our fruited plain with a truly thankful heart.
Will this ever happen in our lifetime? Doubtful. PETA would be furious over the murder of wild turkeys being promoted by a president. Atheists would be beside themselves with being humble before a God they don’t believe in. Pacifists would be upset at celebrating war.
Companies would be upset at the lost revenue of being closed. Waaa waaa waaa! What a bunch of whiners we’ve become! We’ve lost the joy of real thankfulness as a nation.
I personally think it would be one of the most memorable events in American history if a president would spontaneously do this. Of course, we would have to actually do something as a nation we could be thankful for. It would have to be something real, like the culmination of an American goal being accomplished, not a political stunt for a lesser event. The nation would see right through that. It would have to be for a significant war victory, a major advance, land a man on Mars, cure cancer permanently, something great. We could do it? Americans have done great things before. We could again, and when we do, we should be thankful. The president who does this will be remembered and our nation would be blessed.
So much for my dream of a spontaneous Feast of Thanksgiving … I’ve got a leftover turkey sandwich calling my name in the fridge and some football to watch.
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