The story never gets old...it just buries itself deeper into my heart and soul. They sacrificed everything to start a new life in a world were they could worship God as they pleased. Across a vast ocean they sailed in a wooden boat to a new land. The facts still amaze me as I look at God's providence over this part of our Nation's history.
- 66 days crossing the stormy Atlantic
- 104 arrived safely including a birth at sea
- "Being thus arrived in a good harbor and brought safe to land," wrote Governor William Bradford,"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 all the perils and miseries therefor again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their proper element."
- over half of the adults died the first winter - leaving unmarked graves in fear that the Indians would see how many had died
- the spring brought Samoset greeting them with the English words "Welcome"
- Squanto came speaking their language and teach them how to trap eels and plant corn
- when the Mayflower returned, none wanted to go back
- Fall brought harvest and celebration - Massosoit and 90 Indians came to celebrate- it was a three day feast
- A peace treaty by word of mouth between the Pilgrims and the Indians survived 50 years
These brave and courageous men and women began our Nation. They acknowledged God's blessings through their great loss and hardship.
George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation.
"Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation
"It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon' and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord."
I excitedly recall these facts to my sons. I want them to know the foundation of our country...and the sacrifices that were paid so we could bow our hands in a prayer of thanks this season. If we don't keep recalling, it is just one generation away from being forgotten.