THANKFUL FOR FREEDOMS REMEMBERING THE PILGRIMS AND OUR MILITARY MEMBERS As turkey preparations are made and families gather together for another fruitful Thanksgiving, I’m often reminded of the story of the Pilgrims. Every freedom we are afforded in the United States is rooted in their journey for a better life. Just under 400 years ago, English men and women founded Plymouth Colony in what is now the eastern United States. The pilgrims sought relief from religious persecution, but they soon learned that the new land they entered was difficult to cultivate. Within a few months of arrival, the colonists befriended the native people who had been thriving off of the land for centuries. After a peaceful treaty between the two groups and a successful harvest, they enjoyed a three-day celebration and feast together. Thus was the first unofficial Thanksgiving. Two centuries later, the feast still inspires our current holiday — though we now mostly celebrate it by gathering with relatives to eat too much food and fall asleep during a football game.
soldiers were dealing with. Given the extreme conditions he would have witnessed while serving, I understand why he didn’t like to talk much about his service. But I know he and the rest of my family were proud of the work he accomplished. Meanwhile, generations later, my sister’s husband has just finished his 17-year career in the Marines. He’s completed a couple of deployments, including one in Afghanistan. So, we’re all happy that he’s finally able to be home with his family without worrying about the dangers of his job. We do our best to offer my sister and brother- in-law support, and their strong bonds with other military families have been helpful for them. My sister’s family lives across the country from us, so we unfortunately won’t see them this Thanksgiving. But we’re happy they can be safe and sound together. Whoever you spend your Thanksgiving holiday with, I hope you make it a wonderful one. While you’re celebrating, remember the sacrifices the Pilgrims made centuries ago and the ones our military members continue to make every day.
Every year when I was little, I gathered with my extended family to celebrate this November holiday. We had a pretty small family — there were probably about 10 of us — but that intimate gathering allowed us to mingle with everyone. We continue to celebrate with our extended family every year, and we’re lucky that a majority of them live so close to us in Southern California. Thanksgiving reminds me how grateful I am for family, friends, and good health. The freedom to live how we want with whom we want would be nonexistent without the Pilgrims’ courage and the daily protection provided by our nation’s military members. As we celebrate Veterans Day this November, I’m reminded of my grandfather and brother-in-law. They served in different eras, but held the same passion for our country. My grandfather was pretty quiet about his time in the military. He served in the Army during World War II, and his main role was to work in medical units as a Bacteriologist, helping to Identify and diagnose different illnesses and diseases that
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