Recognizing the Plymouth Thanksgiving: How the Pilgrims became America’s forefathers
The town of Plymouth in Massachusetts has not always been well-known. The town and the Pilgrims who created it were largely forgotten for 200 years until December 22, 1820.
On that day, the great orator Daniel Webster traveled to Plymouth from Boston to take part in the bicentennial celebration of the Pilgrims’ landing. So great was his speech that it became known as the “Plymouth oration.”
Before 1,500 people seated themselves on wooden benches in the meetinghouse, he said, in part:
“We have come to this Rock to record here our homage for our Pilgrim Fathers; our sympathy in their sufferings; our gratitude for their labors, our admiration of their virtues; our veneration for their piety, and our attachment to those principles of civil and religious liberty…
“We listen to the chiefs in council … We are filled with reverence and admiration for the mild dignity of Carver and Bradford, the decisive military air of Standish, the devout Brewster, the enterprising Allerton…”
Webster’s oration started the Pilgrims’ elevation to their status as forefathers of the nation. At that time, the recently independent America needed an event and a place that rooted the country to its founding history.
They needed a founding location. Jamestown in Virginia was a candidate, as was Plymouth in Massachusetts. Jamestown had an advantage because it was founded 13 years before the Pilgrims landed. But Plymouth offered a moral authority, thanks to the words of Daniel Webster.
Though the great Thanksgiving feast occurred 401 years ago, in November of 1621, we still follow the Pilgrims’ lead in being thankful for our blessings on Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving fun facts
- Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird of the U.S. In a letter to his daughter, he said the bald eagle had a bad moral character.
- Minnesota produces most of the 46 million turkeys prepared at Thanksgiving in the U.S. every year.
- Green bean casserole, invented by the Campbell Soup Company, is served in 30 million households, but 24 percent of diners hate it.
- Breaking the wishbone originated with the Estruscans, an ancient Italian civilization. Birds were thought to be able to predict the future. They actually kept the bones intact to use the birds’ powers for more wishes.
5 bonding activities to do with your dad
Although you can buy your dad a beautiful or thoughtful gift, sometimes spending quality time together is the best present of all. Here are five bonding activities to do with your dad on this special day.
1. Go to the movies
Whether your dad loves comedies, heart-pounding action films, or psychological thrillers, there are plenty of good flicks to watch on Father’s Day. Reserve seats at a nearby movie theatre and splurge on popcorn and drinks to complete the day.
2. Plan a spa day
Spa days aren’t just for the ladies. If your dad appreciates being pampered, book him a luxurious massage, pedicure, or facial. Make sure you join him to create lasting memories.
3. Get out in nature
Enjoy the great outdoors with Dad by hitting a local hiking or biking trail. Pack a picnic lunch with his favorite goodies to make the most of the day.
4. Play board games
Check out a board game café with your dad for the evening. You can play an unlimited number of games and enjoy a good meal. Get ready to strategize your way to a win.
5. Go to a beer or spirits tasting
If your dad enjoys knocking back a few cold ones or casually sipping on fine whiskey, arrange a tasting at a local brewery or distillery to discover a new favorite.
You don’t have to spend much money to have loads of fun!
5 unique Father’s Day gift ideas
Father’s Day is fast approaching! Have you bought your gift? Does your dad insist he doesn’t need anything at all? Finding a unique or useful present for the dad that seemingly has everything can be challenging. Here are a handful of unique ideas to inspire you.
1. Smart home gadgets
Connected technology is the perfect gift for the geeky dad. For example, a smart doorbell, thermostat, or a set of smart LED bulbs are something he typically wouldn’t buy for himself but would be grateful to own.
2. Reading accessories
If your dad is a bookworm but already has shelves full of reading material, get him some fun accessories to improve his reading experience. For example, a set of stylish bookends, a clip-on book light, a bathtub caddy book stand, a page anchor, or “lazy reading glasses” will allow your dad to dive into a great read. If your dad listens to audiobooks, get him a nice pair of noise-canceling headphones.
3. Outdoor equipment
If you have an outdoorsy dad, consider getting him something he can use while enjoying nature. For instance, a pair of binoculars, a fancy multi-tool, an insulated camping chair, or a soft-sided beer cooler make great gifts.
4. Cooking utensils
Does your dad love to cook or grill? Help him elevate his food game with a unique gift. A digital meat thermometer, barbecue tool set, handheld food torch, or salt block are gifts that are sure to please. You could also buy him a subscription to a monthly meat or spice box.
Visit your local shops to curate the ideal gift for your dad this Father’s Day.
Memorial Day: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, honoring all who have died in service to the United States. It takes place annually on the last Monday in May and includes commemorative traditions like services, parades, speeches, and flag ceremonies. Thousands of people choose to observe the day by visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a neoclassical, white marble sarcophagus, stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C. It’s located in Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place for numerous presidents, Supreme Court justices, astronauts, and other public servants, including more than 400,000 military personnel, veterans, and their immediate families.
The Tomb began as a resting place for one unknown service member from World War I, and today it’s the grave of three unidentified service members. It serves as a symbolic grave for all fallen service members whose remains haven’t been found or identified. It also serves as a place of mourning and a site for reflection on military service.
A sentinel has been on duty in front of the Tomb every minute of every day since 1937, ensuring the Unknown Soldiers forever rest with dignity and honor.
On Memorial Day, a national ceremony is held at the Tomb with nearly 5,000 people in attendance. The president typically delivers an address. The ceremony is free and open to the public.
This Memorial Day, look for a service in your area to pay your respects to service members who have fought and died while serving the United States of America.
Memorial Day: The most dramatic salute
Few tributes are as moving as the traditional flyover at a military funeral or important public event. The flyover is even more dramatic when one aircraft zooms out of formation in the Missing Man Salute.
The missing man formation evolved from early flyovers. The first non-military flyover was in 1936 for King George V. The first U.S. flyover was in 1938, when 50 aircraft honored Major General Oscar Westover, flying with one empty space. By the end of World War II, the formation included the pull-up, when one plane flies out of formation, sometimes to the setting sun.
The formation is usually flown by four to six aircraft in a V formation. The flight leader is at the point of the arrowhead. As the formation approaches the gravesite or ceremonial area, the wingman following to the leader’s right leaves the formation in a spectacular pull-up, suggesting the hero’s soul going up to God.
The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are famous for their dramatic flyovers, including their missing man formations.
Interesting Things to Know
How the poppy came to symbolize the fallen
It began with the stark reality. After World War I, in fields and towns throughout Europe, poppies began growing everywhere.
Scientists said the growth on the battlefields was because former battlefields had become enriched with lime from the rubble left by the war.
But it was the poet, Lt Colonel John McCrae, who saw the poppies as a memorial to the bloodshed in a war that shattered Europe.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row.
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
Today, in the U.S., the poppy is distributed by The American Legion for donations to support veterans and active-duty military personnel. Poppy Day is May 26, the Friday before Memorial Day.
Great ideas for celebrating Mother’s Day
This year, families will celebrate Mother’s Day on May 14. Many children will surprise Mom with their finest drawings and a few kind words about how much they love her. Husbands will celebrate the occasion with flowers and a special gift, such as jewelry or perfume.
If you are having trouble coming up with ideas for a Mother’s Day gift, take some time to look at the things that surround Mom. Chances are you’ll soon notice the things she likes. Does she use her few spare moments to take a bubble bath with aromatic oils? Does she collect teddy bears? Does she read book after book? Does she wear silk scarves? Does she pay careful attention to her make-up and manicure? Does she play a sport? A few minutes of careful observation will reveal a lot about the type of gift she would appreciate.
For the person who devotes her daily life to her children, this is the day to show Mom your love and appreciation. A family celebration is probably the best gift that you can give her.
You can celebrate Mother’s Day away from home by planning a picnic at a local park or enjoying a hassle-free meal at a favorite restaurant. You can also plan a small party at home to celebrate Mom’s special day. You can make a special meal and take care of all of Mom’s chores. You can also add to the festivity by decorating the house with balloons and ribbons. But most of all, what Mom will probably appreciate the most is being surrounded by the people she loves.
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