As you spend time with your families this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take time to reflect on the courage of the first Americans.

I’m not talking about the men and women who risked everything to gain independence from England – although they were no doubt courageous. I’m talking about the small band of religious pilgrims who set sail from England to the New World to establish a better life for themselves and their families 398 years ago.

Upon arriving at Plymouth, they founded a new settlement and agreed on how it would be governed. Their covenant began, “In the name of God, Amen.” Today, we know this agreement as the Mayflower Compact, and these pioneers as the pilgrims.

The pilgrims would have considered themselves among the earliest English settlers in the colonies — but in fact, they were some of the very first Americans. These brave people left their homes and came to this continent with nothing. They wanted to build a new life, to find freedom, and to participate in the great experiment of self-government.

Since 1620, this tremendous act of faith has been repeated by millions who have made their ways to America to also become part of this incredible experiment.

Today, we are blessed to live in this great country — the freest and most prosperous nation on earth. We have so much for which to be thankful.

This Thanksgiving, we hope you have an opportunity to enjoy the many pleasures of life in America with family and friends.

Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

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Newt Gingrich is a former Speaker of the House. He is also a contributor to Fox News and the author of several books.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

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