The constants in the holiday every American awaits each fourth Thursday of November are things that are familiar: a day of celebration, a feast of good harvest, and the memory of the action of grace—action de grace—as the other North Americans, the Canadians, would call it.
It is these same thoughts that connect the immigrant Filipino American to this land, whether that immigrant is a migrant or a local born.
For the action of grace is in the remembrance of the things of the past that matter to a people, like the motive to that journey of the Pilgrims to come over here and seek a life by eking out something from a land that initially was unfamiliar, strange, and alien.
That act of seeking a life—an act that was returned with grace acting on them—was one that they needed to completely sever their ties from a homeland sundered by religious wars, religious persecutions, and religious righteousness.
In their coming to America, the Pilgrims would inaugurate a continuing coming of peoples in search of a in the United States, the peoples of the Philippines included.
As we celebrate this day of giving thanks, the American in the people of the Philippines in this land is celebrating his oneness with all the people of this land, their generous adoptive land.
It is an occasion of grace, indeed, if by grace we mean the kind of life we celebrate and live, away from the humdrum of the daily life in the country where our ancestors or we come from.
Then again, part of the grace of coming together in the company of our community is to remember that other people have not had the same chance of a new life that we do have.
Part of that capacity to thank, therefore, is to reconnect with the communities that are in need of this action of grace that we do celebrate each Thanksgiving Day.
A Solver Agcaoili
FAO Editorial/Nov 2009