Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for Nov. 17, 2021

400 Years of Being Thankful

In 1620, a group of travelers aboard a small ship called the Mayflower landed on what would one day be known as Plymouth. They had already faced an arduous 66-day-long journey across the Atlantic, followed by a trip across Massachusetts Bay, all in pursuit of a home they could call their own and where they could freely practice their faith. But the hard part was just beginning for these travelers.

A harsh winter soon set in, and they faced the ravages of disease, malnutrition and failing crops. It was only with the help of nearby Native Americans that the travelers, today commonly known as Pilgrims, survived the winter and made it to see 1621. Later that year, things began looking up for the Pilgrims. To celebrate the successful autumn harvest, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag tribe shared a feast that became known as the first “thanksgiving.”

Even though a lot has changed over the past 400 years, the basic legacy of a day of thanks endures today – giving thanks. In fact, many of the things the Pilgrims were thankful for back in 1621 are probably the same things we’re thankful for today. For starters, I’m sure many of us are thankful for our friends and family. After all, these are the people we love and who are always there for us, no matter what life throws at us.

Then there’s the food that we gather around. While we may not have had as hard of time finding food as the Pilgrims did, I’m sure we’ve been impacted by supply-chain disruptions due to the pandemic. Not only should we be thankful for the food itself, but also for the people who helped get it to our plates. We would be lost without the hard work and dedication of farmers and truck drivers, who are working day and night to make our Thanksgiving as memorable as always.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that we are only able to enjoy this holiday because of the brave men and women keeping our country free and safe from harm. I hope we all give thanks to our service members, especially those who are far from home this year.

So, no matter your plans to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, I hope you and your family keep sight of the big picture this year and offer up some thanks. May you all have a Happy and safe Thanksgiving.

As always, it is an honor to serve the 6th Senatorial District. If my office can be service to you, please feel free to contact us at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at