Musings on Thanksgiving Day
by Rudy A. Arizala
27 November 2014
On the 27th day of November 2014, the United States of America is celebrating nation-wide its annual “Thanksgiving Day”.
According to historical records, the basis for such annual celebration is that in mid-November of 1620, the ship “Mayflower” loaded with refugee-immigrants from the old World (Europe) landed on the shores of what we call now Massachusetts Bay. Governor William Bradford, a witness to said landing wrote in his diary: “They fell upon their knees and blessed the God of heaven, who had brought them over the vast and furious ocean, and delivered them from the periles (sic) and miseries thereof. . .”
The early Pilgrims to escape from the difficult living conditions in their homeland upon landing on the shores of North America knelt and praised the Lord in thanksgiving for a safe journey and arrival at a new but bountiful land which welcomed them. Thus, observance of Thanksgiving was later on institutionalized as a U.S. national observance every fourth Thursday of November.
Recently, U.S. President Obama in solving the “undocumented” immigrants in the United States thru issuance of an executive order pending appropriate legislation on the subject by U.S. Congress reportedly explained the reason for his “stop-gap’ measure as follows;
“My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal, that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will."
However, not every American reportedly shared his views. For that very same evening that the U.S. President made the above statement, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly told his guest, Filipino-American activist Jose Antonio Vargas, himself an undocumented alien: “It’s a compassionate move. But it may not be a just move, because you and the other people here illegally don’t deserve to be here…. You don’t have an entitlement to be here.”
It appears there are two views on “undocumented” immigrants or "TNT’s" (Tago nang tago) in the United States of America or “land of the free and home of the brave.” The first is one expressed by US President Obama that he has to adopt a stop-gap measure thru his executive power to solve the problem of "TNT's" in the United States pending the legislative action of the US Congress. He is doing it “on humanitarian reason and because America is a “nation of immigrants” which welcomed them and “that all of us are created equal.”
On the other hand, the second view is that while the action of the US President is a “compassionate move”, it “may not be a just move, because these people are in the United States “illegally” and “don’t deserved to be here. . . (they) “don’t have an entitlement to be here” in the United States.
Perhaps it is relevant to recall why on the 27th day of November 2014, the United States of America is celebrating nation-wide its “Thanksgiving Day”. The early Pilgrims to escape from the difficult living conditions in their homeland upon landing on the shores of North America knelt and thanked the Lord for a safe journey and arrival at a new but bountiful land which welcomed them.
In celebration of Thanksgiving Day this year, let us hope and pray that those who oppose the recent move of the U.S. President to solve the problem of undocumented immigrants would not forget that when the early Pilgrims from Europe landed on the shores of Massachusetts Bay in 1620, they were welcomed by the original inhabitants with warm hospitality. Since then, because of the bonding and cooperation between the original settlers and the newcomers or immigrants, this country called the “United States of America”, has became a great nation, a land of democracy, freedom and equal opportunity.
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