There is no doubt that we have much to be thankful for today. Consider with me our land of peace and general prosperity, the freedoms we enjoy, our community, our families, our jobs and so much more. One need watch the news on TV for only a few minutes to realize how fortunate we are. Sure we can gripe about a high cost of living, long waits at the doctors office, politicians who don't seem to understand us, rampant crime, etc. But in which country would we find better living conditions? Where could we find a lower cost of living with a better medical system, a more responsive government and lower crime rates? I can't think of one. We really have much to be thankful for.

I am reflecting today on our ancestors who had the foresight and the courage to leave their homeland and migrate to Canada. Some came in the late 1800s and some came in the early to mid 1900s. Most of them left very difficult living conditions. Some had lost virtually all their wealth while others had lost family members to a repressive government or to revolutionaries. I'm contemplating their feelings of gratitude as they arrived safely in Canada, as they survived the first winter given the harsh climate and their minimal opportunities to preserve food supplies for that winter, as they moved into their first real house after having lived in a semlin the first winter and as they harvested their first crops on land that they first had to clear and cultivate. It seems to me that one would feel thankfulness more keenly when one's very life has been in danger and when one has truly fought for survival, which many of our ancestors did. But really I don't know because I've never been in that state.

Herein lies the value of remembering and reviewing our history. First, we're reminded to be thankful for our ancestors and the challenges they took on to come to Canada and start a new life. A life which built communities and istitutions which have served society and have made our lives so much more comfortable. Secondly, we're reminded of how little one really needs to be profoundly thankful, as our ancestors were when they survived the rigors of migration and pioneer life.

Steinbachonline.com is Steinbach's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

About the Author

Barry is the Executive Director of the Mennonite Heritage Village. While he does not consider himself to be a historian, he places a high value on the preservation and interpretation of the Mennonite and pioneer stories that help people of all ages understand and appreciate their heritage. Learn more about the MHV.

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