WASHINGTON – Since 1961 The Wall Street Journal has published the same editorial in celebration of Thanksgiving, the most American of all the annual festivities. This is the way in which this newspaper declares that the old American values, the values that inspired the Founders, should continue to be our guidance as we move forward. Thanksgiving is tied to the history of the Pilgrims who in 1620 sailed to America on the Mayflower and who established their small colony in Plymouth, in what later on became the state of Massachusetts.
Over the centuries, Thanksgiving has become the day of the year in which America reaffirms the value of its unique experience. Americans celebrate their spiritual roots with family gatherings.
And this is what the old 1961 WSJ editorial, published again and again, says in its conclusion:
“We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without the benefit of kings and dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.”
“And we might remind ourselves also that if those men [The Pilgrims] setting out from Delfthaven [in the Netherlands] had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land”.
Yes, the Pilgrim Fathers who landed in America in 1620 had the fortitude to believe that they could succeed, despite the terrible odds.
Their experiment, after so many changes and additions, became a Republic based on the twin pillars of the sacrosanct value of individual freedoms and self-government.
The story of Plymouth Colony is emblematic of an arduous journey. Nothing was easy. Only a strong spirit made it possible to build Plymouth Colony, and much later a different country, the very first modern republic. This is true today as it was true in 1620: we are still on a journey, and nothing important is easy.
Let’s value our freedom
Therefore, let’s cultivate our spirit. Let’s value our freedom and let’s protect it, as we use our intellect and our ingenuity to continue building this country.
Most of all, let’s keep in mind that our unique American foundations rest not on language or shared ethnic origins but on the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution.
As long as these principles are understood and shared by all Americans, we can rest assured that the “Fair Land” will endure and will prosper.