It's the 400th Anniversary of the First Thanksgiving. Here's Why We Still Celebrate.

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In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims gathered for the first Thanksgiving in the New World. Today, 400 years later, Americans all over the country came together to honor the
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occasion. It's a classic American tradition. And it's one we must never lose sight of.

The Pilgrims had good reason to celebrate that autumn. Blown hundreds of miles from their intended destination of Virginia, they had endured a brutal Massachusetts winter. Starvation, illness, and exposure took the lives of half their group. At one point, only seven people were healthy enough to care for the sick. Two fires within one month partially destroyed their shelter and some of their supplies. Still, against the odds, they managed to survive. It was with genuine gratitude that Plymouth Governor William Bradford urged his fellow settlers to "render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings."

But as thankful as they were for physical provisions, the Pilgrims were also deeply grateful for spiritual freedom. They'd undertaken their journey "for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith." And as Bradford said in his Thanksgiving Proclamation, the Lord "granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience." The Pilgrims' faith was not only their motivation for coming to America; it…
Ronna McDaniel
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