Op-Ed: End the romance of Thanksgiving, as a great Pequot scholar argued two centuries ago
If there are no more days that can’t be celebrated — no more to give thanks — than it is now, then Thanksgiving does not exist. We can celebrate in all its manifestations, joyous and solemn, private and public, as the occasion to remember our friends, our homes and nation.
But there will always be days that, to me, seem to require even more than one day of gratitude. They will not be the days that have an impact on our happiness or our personal sense of well-being, but rather the days that are still filled with the sorrows of loss that can weigh us down and that can keep us in grief for days, if not weeks and months, if not years.
The year in which I attended Boston University was a time of sorrow and loss — in the form of the death of my father, who had been a good friend for over half a century. This was an unusually difficult time for myself and my family, and also for my community, for at least two reasons: First, my father had been a longtime member of the Boston University community, and we had lost another family member, a son, when he was a teenager. It was especially a time of loss for the Boston University community, for we were so used to the annual gift of the university’s endowment toward the endowment of scholarships. We had heard for years that the university planned to spend every year at least $1.4 million to support students’ lives of service. In this case, the university decided to use its endowment to create a memorial scholarship fund that would support the students who might not be able to pay for a tuition hike. The endowment was not large — only a few million $, and it would not have been enough to endow a full scholarship. Yet my father’s gift of $10,000 over the years to the university was important, as was the fact that