Google doesn’t know all about Thanksgiving

November 26, 2013

By David Hayes

When I heard department stores were opening up on Thanksgiving Day this year, I wanted to write a profound column about the true meaning of Thanksgiving. But to do so, I needed to double-check the actual facts about the original dinner party.

So I Googled “The True History of Thanksgiving” and was surprised by how much the “facts” differed.

David Hayes Press reporter

David Hayes Press reporter

The first hit links to a rather acerbic article that hotly posits that the first day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Massachusetts Colony Gov. John Winthrop. Apparently, he actually called for a celebration upon the safe return of a hunting party after they successfully massacred 700 Pequot Indians. Not the history lesson I grew up with, and since the author didn’t list his sources, I cannot verify the veracity of his claims.

But I had heard rumors that children were being taught in school these days to feel guilty about celebrating on such a day of infamy regarding Native Americans. And sure enough, a few links down on Google pops up teaching guides for the classroom.

After detailing all the atrocities committed by the Pilgrims and the Puritans who later moved into the region, the author implores children, “When you gather with your loved ones to thank God for all your blessings, think about those people who only wanted to live their lives and raise their families.”

As an avid listener of conservative talk radio, I’ve heard tales in the past of what’s been left out of most history books regarding what led up to the first day of Thanksgiving.

The pilgrims’ celebration of a successful bounty was actually a repudiation of a communal (read communist) society that failed utterly after that first winter. Gov. William Bradford (hmm, a second governor?) changed land allocation from shared harvests to individually allotted portions. It seems that when relying on others to bring in the bounty was replaced with individual responsibility, the colony thrived. Bottom line, capitalism saved the day.

With so many discrepancies about the past, I’ll return to the present. The way I see the holiday, it should be about time well spent with family and friends. There’s too much divisiveness throughout the rest of the year. Take this day to honor whomever you wish, but don’t chide others for their choices.

I like to think we’re still the best nation on Earth, despite the mistakes made over the years, which has been the greatest force for good in history. I thank God each and every night for keeping me around another day. On Thanksgiving Day, I get to share that appreciation with others. That’s what it should all boil down to, regardless whether Google links agree with me or not.


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