From: Allen in Massachusetts [Email him]
This year's quadricentennial celebration of the landing in Massachusetts has been sadly interrupted by the pandemic, and marred by disparagement from America-haters and graffiti artists. For me, those disruptions have only heighted my appreciation and reverence for the Pilgrims' primary role in America's founding.
Growing up, I learned about the Pilgrims, their courage, aspirations and struggles, and the first Thanksgiving. But in my retirement years, I feel a stronger personal connection than I ever did before. That is partly because, these past few years, I have spent a lot of time studying my family genealogy.
I believe my wife and I both have Mayflower ancestors. The proof I have collected so far still leaves some uncertainty. So I'll keep working to fill the gaps with more genealogy research.
Actually my primary focus in family history has been to trace my ancestry just back to the Revolutionary War era. All my ancestors since 1776 were born in America. My proof was good enough for me to join the Sons of the American Revolution. Farther back than the Revolution, the records run out for most lines in my ancestry. But one line goes back to New England, and the records indicate a Mayflower ancestor as a strong possibility.
Besides strengthening my own personal connection to the Pilgrims, I feel a keen kinship to other Americans, from all walks of life, who are foundational Americans, like me. And I feel the same way about well-assimilated Americans of more recent vintage--people like Matthew Richer. I see them as extended family, and give thanks that they have joined as part of the Historic American Nation.
For 2021, I hope all of America will mark the quadricentennial of the First Thanksgiving, as we recall the trials and first harvest of the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims did not completely succeed with their vision of a "city on a hill". Their quest continued with later generations, and continues with us. We too, are Pilgrims, in our various ways.