November 25 2008 by Claudia Kunkel
I love Thanksgiving Day. I love that it is a day to gather with our family and friends to simply give thanks and express gratitude for all that we have. No shopping for presents, eggs to dye, candy to hand out or hearts to sprinkle with glitter. I like to do those things, but I find pleasure in the simplicity of this holiday and the opportunity to give thanks. As we all were taught in grade school, Thanksgiving is the day we commemorate the Pilgrims persistence and courage in coming to America to a "new world" filled with possibilities, hope and gratitude. So, with that thought in mind, I thought it would be a nice time to mention a few places connected to the spirit of gratitude and some traditions that reflect the history and traditions of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Plymouth Rock - Plymouth, Massachusetts. The reason we come together to give thanks - the Pilgrims landing in Plymouth Rock. Said to be the traditional site of disembarkation of the Mayflower Pilgrims who founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. The rock is protected by a small structure in downtown Plymouth. I found it exciting to see, but rather surprised by its "ordinariness".
Mayflower II - A beautiful reproduction of the original Mayflower as it was when the Pilgrims sailed it in 1620. The details of the ship are impressive, all the way from the oak timbers, wood and horn lanterns to the cramped quarters that the passengers endured to make the arduous crossing. For those of you that saw the movie, "The New World", the reproduction of the ship's boat is located next to the Mayflower II. Tours are available for the Mayflower II or the Plimouth Plantation.
Macy's Day Parade - I would be overlooking a wonderful tradition in many households; to turn on the Macy's Day Parade. To many, it's symbolizes the start of the holiday season and the gathering of family to watch the 3 hour parade as it follows the route it has taken since 1945. The parade was started by Macy's employees in the 1920's who were first generation immigrants and wanted to celebrate the American holiday of Thanksgiving.
Home, Sweet Home - Probably the most important and enduring tradition of Thanksgiving; the coming together with family and friends to express gratitude and thanks for all that we have. A time when relatives will travel across the country to be with family; help bake the pumpkin pies and argue over the wishbone on the turkey.
Perhaps the best way to describe the gratitude I feel when celebrating Thanksgiving is a quote I ran across a few years ago: "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." (John F. Kennedy)
Do you have a favorite place to travel or a tradition on Thanksgiving that you would like to share?