Today is American Thanksgiving – a celebration of the blessings afforded by our forefathers as they overcame adversity in a new land, laboring to obtain from the resources around them the necessities of life: food, shelter, and warmth against winter’s cold.
Since that first winter, the bounty of Thanksgiving has become a symbol of the abundant resources the New World provided. From the raw materials that built our modern cities to the energy that has powered innovation in all its variety, these resources have enriched the lives of millions of people in America and around the world – making possible a way of life those who gathered around that first Thanksgiving table could never have imagined.
Even today, of course, we know that too many are still doing without the basic necessities of life. And yet the resources around us – those literally under our feet – remain plentiful. All too often complacency and ideology lock us into inaction, blocking us from making use of the still-rich resources of this new world. Minerals, metals, fuel and timber that could create jobs, opportunities, and rewards for the American people are left untouched.
Our forefathers understood privation and want. They understood that nature sometimes rewards tireless work with a poor harvest. But they also understood nature’s bounty. What they would find beyond comprehending in our day is the willful failure to use resources we have at hand to ease hardship and make a better life for ourselves and for others.
On this Thanksgiving, as we give thanks for our many blessings, may we also remember the lessons dating back to Plymouth Rock, that teach us to use our resources and resourcefulness to make an even newer and better world.