I am thankful that my ancestors were braver than me, not only having a dream for a better life but the guts to reach for it; uprooting their lives to venture into a frightening unknown. They took unimaginable risks, leaving their families to pioneer into a strange and undeveloped country.
I am thankful that I do not have to live in a world in which life is fleeting and the loss of loved ones is common. If you study the stories of your ancestors around the time of the American Revolution, you will discover that death from disease wiped out entire communities. Family members died as quick as flies.
I am thankful that as a woman, I have the right to own property, vote, write a will, be the legal guardian of my own child--all simple rights once denied to our great-great grandmothers. It is hard to find ghosts without paper trails.
I am so very thankful that my great-great grandfathers fought to maintain the solidarity of our country, understanding that we are greater as a whole and in turn, ending the unimaginable--the ownership of humans. I remember the chill I felt when I read a slaveholder's will and the disturbing discovery that my ancestor was the slaveholder.
I am thankful that we do not live in our ancestor's times in which the elderly and disabled were shuffled into poor farms without financial support, ending their lives without dignity and respect from society.
And I am thankful our fathers fought the good fight, securing our futures and saving us from the grasp of wickedness.
So that is all I am thankful for. And though I have dug until my hands are raw, I will keep on searching my history because the understanding of our history provides a path to our future.
Have a happy Thanksgiving holiday and keep searching for answers,