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Thanksgiving is a time for reflection

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — It will be a little more difficult for many New Mexicans to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Bad economic times have hit us hard in the past 12 months causing layoffs, furloughs, business failures and bankruptcies.

But most will still want to give thanks for having been born in this great country and having enjoyed blessings that much of the rest of the world doesn’t offer. And there still are reasons to give thanks for family, friends and good health.

We’re told that all cultures observe some sort of day to give thanks. It seems to be a basic human need to back away from trouble, stress and daily commotion and reflect on one’s blessings no matter how meager they may be.

In this part of the country, where we can boast a European presence that predates English settlements on the East Coast, we have fun claiming that America’s first Thanksgiving occurred in Southern New Mexico in 1598.

That’s when Don Juan de Oñate and his band of settlers paused on their journey northward to feast and give thanks to God for getting them through the desert and providing them a river crossing. But it will never replace the story about Squanto and the Pilgrims.


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