Dec 042009
Authors: Josh Phillips

All too often, we get caught up in the holiday spirit just after Halloween, and our attention shifts to the holiday of our preference. In the constant barrage of commercialization on TV and the Web, we are convinced that there is nothing more important than going out and spending a ludicrous amount of our hard-earned money on materialistic gifts for friends and family.

Each year, we are pelted with ads for Christmas and other gift-giving holidays earlier and earlier.

As such, Thanksgiving is hardly ever given an ounce of attention. The most we hear of it is a brief mention during football games or if we see Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while flipping through the channels.

It’s disappointing to see a holiday so vital to the formation of the United States trivialized, merely because it has minimal marketing value. Sometimes, it seems, more attention is given to the trouble-makers who insist on protesting this valuable and integral holiday.

The protesters who engage in the “National Day of Mourning” or “Unthanksgiving Day” are either out to make a name for themselves or are genuinely confused about the origins of Thanksgiving.

Despite protestors’ insinuation that Thanksgiving is the personification of attempted Native American genocide, the holiday is in fact dedicated to the original settlers’ reliance on Native Americans in order to survive. Protesters may or may not have some merit in organizing protests regarding battles fought between settlers and natives hundreds of years ago, but considering nobody from that era can recount their experiences, the debate is pointless.

These unofficial holidays are sometimes used to celebrate Native American culture, for which I have much respect. As such, I think they would be more successful if they focused on cultural achievements rather than bloodshed that occurred in the 18th century. It is important to remember the tragedies in history, but it is counterproductive to hold protests against holidays that honor those who died in such tragedies.

Regardless of its past, Thanksgiving is now a holiday that our country holds in high regard and is considered a time to reflect on those things that matter most to us. As such, I would be remiss if I did not take a moment to share a few things I am most thankful for:

My close friends and family, who put up with my antics on a daily basis: God bless you all.

The brave men and women in the armed forces who selflessly place their lives at risk every day to ensure our freedoms are protected: No words can possibly describe how much respect and appreciation I hold for you.

Native American culture, for its essential role in the survival and formation of the United States of America: Without Native American contributions, there would be no Thanksgiving and no America.

My education, sponsored by the United States: It truly is a privilege.

Those who agree with me on political issues and assist in the defense of my position: You know who you are, and your support is greatly appreciated.

Those who disagree with me on political issues and attack my position ruthlessly: Your input has more often than not given me new insight into each issue, and I take any dissenting opinion that may reveal flaws in my reasoning seriously.

My health, for which I cannot be thankful enough.

My colleagues on the Collegian opinion staff: The discussions generated in our staff meetings, although lengthy, are always a treat.

Turducken. Enough said.

And, of course, the Big Guy upstairs: He may be sitting in some sort of extraterrestrial reclining chair, laughing hysterically as we attempt to sort through our inconsequential problems, but at least He’s there.

I encourage all of our readers to make a list of what they’re thankful for during the upcoming recess. If anybody special makes your list, take the time to specifically thank them and tell them how they have positively impacted your life.

We don’t do it often enough, and luckily Thanksgiving is still around to gently remind us that we need to.

Josh Phillips is a senior business administration major. His column appears Tuesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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