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Opinion

Thanksgiving provides time to recognize others

Cristin Dempsey

Published November 21st, 2013

With Thanksgiving just one week away, I will admit that, like most people, I am just excited to get a break.

Getting the better half of Thanksgiving week off is about more than just getting to go home and having a break, though. It is a time well spent with family and old friends, appreciating what you have and the life you live.

It is a time to realize that we have it much easier than the pilgrims did at the first Thanksgiving, even if we frequently take that for granted. But why do we have a day devoted to being thankful? Who exactly are we supposed to thank? I have always wondered that myself, but there really is a meaning behind all of it.

Everyone knows, or should know, that the first Thanksgiving came when European Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. So what?

They came over in 1621, during Europe’s Protestant Reformation, mainly to seek religious freedom in the New World. Early Thanksgiving celebrations are traced back to the church, and there was debate over how many religious holidays should be included on the calendar. Many Puritans argued to eliminate Christmas and Easter, replacing them instead with days
of fasting and days to give thanks for Christ.

The Pilgrims, however, were said to give thanks to their newfound religious freedom and a good harvest for the year. In later years, leaders such as John Hancock and George Washington gave thanks to God for favorable events in their lives.

So, who exactly should you give thanks to next week? I think firstly, your parents deserve some thanks. They are the ones who have to put up with your whining and demanding requests in regards to school. They provide you with groceries when you need them, put a roof over your head and molded you into the person you are today

I know with piles of homework, while trying to keep up with a social life, we often do not think about all that our parents do for us. I know my parents have gone through a lot, both with their own lives and with mine, and they always handle it with stride. They are always there to help me or to listen to me even if they have struggles of their own.

Next, be thankful for your siblings. Whether they are your best friend or your worst enemy, they always have something to offer. Luckily, my sister is my best friend, and I have learned a lot from her. She has taught me how to handle the most difficult situations, especially coming to school. She is always there to exchange gossip or provide advice.

Your siblings can be your role model or teach you how to be a role model to them. They set examples and make you realize a lot about yourself. That is something to definitely be thankful for.

Finally, be thankful for your peers: friends, old and new, classmates, and roommates. You may not get along with them all the time, but they are people to turn to. They have a lot to offer, whether that is help with an assignment, advice on a problem with someone else, or simply someone to spend time with. Without them here at school or back home, life would present many more challenges, because everyone needs someone.

Next week, while you are enjoying your turkey and that delicious pumpkin pie, remember who and what you have in your life that you could not do without. Thanksgiving is a time for us to stop taking everything for granted and start embracing our lives.

Cristin Dempsey is an English major and music minor from Eagan, Minn. She enjoys writing, playing the flute and swimming. After college she would like to pursue a career as an editor.

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