The hidden story of the third Thanksgiving: 1623–giving thanks for freedom

by Jim O’Keefe

Thanksgiving is a very special time for many of us. Some of our fondest memories are of shared feasts with dear friends and family members, some no longer with us. The aromas, sights and tastes of the feasts shared serve to cement those memories for us, memories to last a lifetime.

Growing up in New England, I heard the story of the first Thanksgiving repeated endlessly, reenacted with excitement and stage jitters by many a grade school child (including the author), with proud parents in attendance. The funny looking clothing, black britches and the hat with the big belt buckle. The story about how the Native Americans, the Pakonoket Wampanoag, led by their sachem Massasoit to be more exact, saved the starving Pilgrims from another brutal winter by showing the settlers how to grow corn in the flinty New England soil. We can all picture the scenes in our minds’ eye. But the story we’ve known all our lives is incomplete….

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