Sen. Mike Cunningham’s Legislative Column for Nov. 16, 2018

Cunningham Updated Banner March 2017

Legislative Column for Nov. 16, 2018

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It offers friends and family an opportunity to come together and celebrate the wonderful people in their lives. While it was not until President Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation in 1863 that spurred an official national day for giving thanks, the history of Thanksgiving can be traced back far before Lincoln or even the founding of our country.

In 1621, the pilgrims at Plymouth celebrated a successful harvest with a three-day celebratory feast with members of the Wampanoag tribe. The pilgrims had suffered from malnutrition during their long and arduous journey to the new world, but with the help of the Wampanoag tribe, they were able to survive and forge new lives free of religious persecution. Likely served waterfowl, venison and lobster, the menu of what would become known as the first Thanksgiving was probably much different than what we expect today. Nevertheless, the feast paid tribute to the teamwork and contributions that helped so many survive during those difficult times as well as an important alliance between the pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe that would last several decades.

Today, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the delicious food, the football games and the Black Friday deals which seem to creep more and more into Thanksgiving Day each year. That is why it’s important to remember the meaning behind the holiday. Thanksgiving goes far beyond the food on the dining room tables or the “door buster” deals. Yes, the food brings us together at a shared table, but it’s the people we share that table with that really matter. Thanksgiving is about celebrating our differences and the accomplishments we can achieve when we work together. It is about friendship and a sense of comradery. It’s about being thankful for the people in our lives that we may not think to thank nearly as often as we should.

As you prepare to celebrate this Thanksgiving season, I hope you keep in mind the message of the holiday and thank those who have done so much for you. I hope you and your family have a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

As always, I appreciate it when groups from around Missouri and from our community back home come to visit me at the Capitol. If you would like to arrange a time to come and visit me in Jefferson City, or if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.