Let us come before him with thanksgiving.
                                      —Psalm 95:2

On September 6, 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England, with 102 passengers. “God sifted out a hundred and two seeds from the civilization of Europe to plant a new nation on these shores,” wrote Longfellow.

A year later forty-nine of the 102 were dead—victims of malnutrition, disease, and exposure to harsh New England weather.

Even so, that autumn the Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in the New World with a three-day festival of thanksgiving.

In 1623, Governor William Bradford issued a Proclamation of Thanksgiving. “As one small candle may light a thousand,” he wrote, “so the light here kindled hath shone to many.”

And to many more today as we, the richly-blessed descendants of those immigrants lift our voices in praise and our hearts in gratitude.

God bless America, Land that I love …
God bless America, My home sweet home.
—Irving Berlin

A thankful heart is the father of many virtues.

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