By Christopher Nikoloff
I discovered one of my favorite quotes on the tab at the end of a tea bag: "Gratitude is an open door to abundance." November is a time of gratitude.
According to Melanie Kirkpatrick ("Four Things You Didn't Know about Thanksgiving," Time, 21-11-16), America traditionally cites 1621 as the date of its first Thanksgiving, when the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts, and the native Wampanoag expressed their gratitude during a three-day feast that featured venison (not turkey) and corn (not cranberries).
Not to be outdone by Massachusetts, the state of Virginia lays claim to America's real first Thanksgiving by pointing to a religious ceremony in 1619. William Bradford, Governor of the Plymouth Colony, expressed gratitude for the rains in July 1623, which also contends for the honor of the first Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving, by virtue of its birth in the first years of our nation's history, is a deeply American holiday, though it became an official national holiday only in 1863 in the middle of the Civil War. Despite the unprecedented butchery of that war, Lincoln found cause for gratitude in his proclamation: "The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies."
The High School held a Thanksgiving-themed Family-Style Dinner on the evening of November 22.
If Lincoln can find cause for gratitude amidst the devastation of the Civil War, certainly we can be grateful here at TASIS amidst such beauty and conscious community. In 1956, 93 years after Lincoln's proclamation and 335 years after the Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Mrs. Fleming, the Founder of TASIS, celebrated the opening of TASIS by opening her doors and sharing her 30-pound turkey, which accompanied her as she drove over the Alps, with 30 refugees from Hungary.
The spirit of charity, gratitude, and openness to humanity still pervades TASIS today, something, among so much else, to be grateful for this November. Happy Thanksgiving to all.