I am thankful for a lot of things. I’m thankful for the things that everyone else is also thankful for, like food, clothes, school, somewhere to stay etc, and I’m also thankful for things that aren’t so common, like pecan pie, the ICC chess club, and Stephen Curry’s jump shot. But fundamentally, I’ve realized that the thing that I’m most thankful for is this era that we live in, an era with a culture so unique that even someone twenty years ago would have trouble imagining it, and specifically that we now have the chance to finally bring the human race together.
Why is this new era of ours so important? Consider this. In history textbooks everywhere, we say that the Industrial Revolution is one of the most important events of human history, because modernized our technology and brought an improved standard of living to many people. What about the Revolution we are having right now? In just ten years we’ve miniaturized our electronic devices by several orders of magnitude, landed a satellite on a comet, and most importantly brought more than a billion people together through the Internet. A billion people. When the industrial revolution started, there weren’t even that many people on the planet.
Of course, you might ask me: “Hey, so you’re saying that these abstract concepts that we’re talking about are more important than my food, clothing, family, and shelter?” That’s exactly what I’m saying. If you want evidence, just look at why the tradition was started in the first place. In 1621 Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoags celebrated the first recorded Thanksgiving. There are many stories about why this feast took place, but it is clear what it represents. The historical record clearly shows that this gathering of American Indians and English settlers was the first such large-scale friendly contact between the two groups. Thus, the first Thanksgiving represented the dawn of a new age, one of cooperation between two different civilizations. Sadly, this cooperation didn’t last long, but to honor the intentions of the creators, we should still celebrate Thanksgiving with the spirit of cooperation in mind.
If you aren’t convinced, that’s fine. You can still be most thankful for whatever you feel is most important to your life. But next year, when Thanksgiving comes around again, remember the Pilgrims and Wampanoags, and make a toast to the bright future of worldwide cooperation.