Thanksgiving's unchanging appeal

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IN A ROUGH and challenging time, inhabitants of this land - including different peoples not always trusting of one another - come together to give thanks and perhaps to replenish their hopes of better, safer times to come. That's the theme (at least in national legend) of the first Thanksgiving, and it's not a bad one for the fractious year 2010.

The Pilgrims gave thanks to a Protestant God at that first feast, the Indian people mostly to other spiritual forces. But the basic sentiment was universal then and is now: We are fortunate to be alive and fed and sheltered, and the proper response to our good fortune is not self-satisfaction but gratitude. Gratitude to whom or what is not as important as the understanding of our interdependence and of the necessity of caring for one another that this humble attitude fosters....

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