The first settlers to Plymouth, Massachusetts arrived in 1620 and endured a horrible winter of starvation, disease, and death. Of the 102 passengers who made the voyage on the Mayflower, only 44 survived into the next year. By early 1621, the Pilgrims had built huts on the shores of Plymouth Bay and began friendly relationships with neighboring Native Americans. Squanto, a local Native American, who had been kidnapped and taken to England about a decade earlier, spoke English and taught the Pilgrims how to plant, tend, and harvest native crops, such as corn. The Pilgrims formed an alliance with Massasoit, the chief of the Wampanoag tribe; in exchange for assisting the Wampanoags with defense against enemy tribes, Massasoit helped supply the Pilgrims with food for the first few lean years. In November of 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first successful harvest of corn, Governor William Bradford organized a feast and invited Massasoit and about 90 of the Plymouth Colony’s Native American allies to join the Pilgrims and take part in the tradition of the English Harvest Festival, which is now remembered as the first Thanksgiving.
Every fourth Thursday in November, American families gather to share a meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and more. In many homes across America, it is tradition for each person sitting at the table to share what they’re most thankful for from the previous year. Many people start the day by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and even more spend the later part of the day watching football or getting an early start on their Black Friday shopping. Thanksgiving week has some of the busiest travel days of the year, as more Americans hit the road or catch a flight during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period than at any other time of the year. It’s a time of year where being surrounded by close friends and family takes on a deeper significance and togetherness becomes more important.
What are you thankful for this holiday season? Here at Lucky Shot, we are thankful for our veterans as well as the brave men and women currently serving in our nation’s armed forces. We are especially thankful to deployed service members who are spending this Thanksgiving protecting us rather than at home with their families. Helping those in the military to celebrate Thanksgiving in some capacity, even those deployed or on the battlefield, is a proud and enduring American tradition. During World War I, the Red Cross and other organizations provided Thanksgiving aid to soldiers, and in certain places where American soldiers were stationed, such as France, local families would invite them to their homes for the day to share a meal. During World War II, C- or K-rations were replaced with traditional Thanksgiving fare such as turkey and cranberries for the holiday. These meals were either shipped in by the military or collected from local farmers. The Defense Logistics Agency is now in charge of ensuring that those deployed in the military are able to enjoy Thanksgiving with traditional dinners consisting of turkey, pumpkin pie, and all the trimmings, which are delivered to service members around the world.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and an especially Happy Thanksgiving to all those who serve or have served in our country’s armed forces.