The Giving of Thanks

A grateful nation can never go wrong in much the same way that a grateful heart will always do what is right and fair.

But even as we celebrate this year’s Day of Thanksgiving—even as we reel away from this national trauma we call economic meltdown that seems to have no end in sight—we have a reason to sit back and think through what has happened to the communities of immigrants in this land, communities that are known for their diversity and difference and yet always on the lookout for what makes them in common.

The Day of Thanksgiving is rooted in the acknowledgement that there is something or someone that knows well than what we know.

The Day of Thanksgiving implicates as well the immigrant history of this country that at times, after the immigrants have settled down and stopped moving, have come to look at the other immigrants from a different lens.

No, this country, on the Day of Thanksgiving and beyond it, must take stock of its investment in movement—in migration—as this is what its energy for growth, creativity, ingenuity, community, and vision comes from.

Without this broader perspective, we lapse into forgetting and this whole idea about sacrifice and honor, as is the case of the sacrifice and honor of the veterans who had to fight a war in our name in order for us to have peace, will become hollow and shallow, empty and meaningless.

One lesson we need to underscore on the Day of Thanksgiving is to keep on with the spirit to insist what needs to be remembered.

Another lesson is to resist the idea that remembrance is a perfunctory act of recalling the past as if this past is a relic of what goodness the past had.

No, we cannot.

History must remain our guide in mapping the future for us all; the future that is well rooted in the past-as-present and in the present-as-future.

We fail to see the continuum of time, we fail to see how necessary is our role to guarantee that someone will remember, someone will make it sure that we all become “a member again” of this vibrant, dynamic, socially responsible community of immigrants.

Observer/Nov 2009

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