2017-11-22 / Opinions

A fine example to follow

None of us are thankful all the time. We get frustrated and stressed, impatient with others, and forget to focus on the bounty in our lives. Sometimes we have a bounty of wealth, sometimes a bounty of family and love, sometimes a bounty of talents or opportunities. As the hunters are remembering this week, here in West Virginia we have a special bounty of natural beauty surrounding us.

Alongside gratitude comes our duty to make sure other people have what they need – food, shelter, water, safety, human connections.

America’s Thanksgiving story is that story. There are several versions of that first harvest meal in 1621 in Massachusetts. But there is agreement that the native Wampanoag Indians joined the European settlers in a celebration of their first good harvest that year.

The Indians, who had shown the settlers how to plant crops and gather native fruit and nuts, also brought venison and fowl to the meal. The pilgrims celebrated a harvest that meant continued survival, and the help of the Indians. Indian historians say that “first” Thanksgiving celebration that year was, for them, a continuation of their culture’s regular practice of giving thanks for nature’s bounty.

None of us needs an abundance of all things. West Virginians know this, and so do our local residents. Even the most modest among us give help, food, shelter, rides, comfort and company to those who need it. We know we don’t have to be rich ourselves to help others.

It is our duty as neighbors to make sure all among us have the basics to survive and thrive. The Wampanoag gave us an example to follow on that first Thanksgiving, and we’d do well to rise to the challenge.

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