Education Editorial: The First Thanksgiving

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Last week we looked at the facts about the first Thanksgiving. We noted a memo from Dr. Henry Schlesinger, famous historian and special assistant to President Kennedy, acknowledging a bias to Plymouth in the President's Proclamation. The recipient of the letter, Mr. Wicker, was correct in asserting that the First Thanksgiving was in Virginia at Berkley Plantation some two years prior to the Pilgrims landing.

He also said that the mistake would not be repeated in the future. I observed that the textbook publishers must not have gotten the memo. Well, they were not the only ones left out of the loop. On Thanksgiving Day, newspapers across America carried a proclamation from President Obama. "The observance recalls the celebration of an autumn harvest centuries ago, when the Wampanoag tribe joined the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony to share in the fruits of a bountiful season."

Governor McDonnell's proclamation correctly states, "the settlers in Virginia found time to celebrate the first Thanksgiving in America at Berkeley Plantation on December 4, 1619." For a Commonwealth with many firsts, Henricus College, Mt Malady hospital, and the legislative assembly at Jamestown, perhaps we should be more accommodating to the "revisionists". But is seems that one principle used is politics is now being emulated in history: Say it often and say it loudly, and they will believe it.

Oh, the instructions to the 38 settlers at Berkeley Plantation was to keep "a day of Thanksgiving for Almighty God."

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