As we hover over our dinner tables sagging with food this Thanksgiving, let us pause to reflect what this day may bring us.
Let us thank God that as bountiful American Armenians, we live in a country that is not ready to explode in our faces like Syria.
That we have a roof over our heads, a church in which to worship, a beloved family at our side, and more food than could feed a small nation.
Let us count our blessings that we belong to the greatest race that was ever conceived … for any other just would not crack a wishbone. As Armenians, we often take our heritage and culture for granted until fate brings us back together.
It’s time to remember our ancestors at this table—those who made it possible for us to gather at this moment, the ones who survived and those no longer with us. As Armenian immigrants, there is some solace that America was a place where we could worship in peace and live in security.
The Promised Land has lived up to its promise.
Are we not a nation that was bred upon refugees who arrived here, like the pilgrims in 1620, to cultivate their dreams?
On this day, let us look upon the faces of our children and ask, What can you do for this country as an Armenian? What contribution might you make that will bring glory and fame to our ethnicity?
Let them know that what we do for ourselves unfortunately stays with us, but what we do for others lives eternally and promotes the common good in mankind.
On a day marked by gluttony, whether it’s food or football, perhaps we can take a moment to say an Armenian prayer—“Hayr Mer” would be nice—and reflect upon others less fortunate.
A contribution to an Armenian charity might be one expression of thanks. At a time when the Armenian Tree Project is celebrating its 20th anniversary, maybe think of having a tree planted in memory of a loved one. Or a living tree for somebody still breathing.
On this Thanksgiving Day, a visit to a nursing home or an elderly housing center couldn’t come at a more inconvenient time, given the guest flow at your house. But think of the good it would do that isolated Armenian looking for a guest.
I marvel at some of the contributions we have made to world civilization. Two that come to mind are by Moses Gulezian, who salvaged the destruction of the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides) and turned it into one of Boston’s top tourist attractions.
And how about a toast to Dr. Varaztad Kazanjian, the founding father of modern plastic surgery in this country? I just look to our wounded in any war zone and what this man did to restore their faces and limbs.
He, like others, found refuge in America as a teenager and not only made the best of it, but contributed to its welfare in a big, big way.
With this Thanksgiving, let us reflect upon the bounty God has provided with our respective churches, be they Armenian or not, and put the Christian faith right where it belongs—on Hye-er ground.
I often think of those communities with no Armenian church or ethnic inducements. So take the initiative and start your own. Did America really have an Armenian community before our people settled here after the genocide and turn it into a thriving hemisphere?
Yet, who really knows about us? We preach to one another at churches and conferences. We commemorate our anniversaries with those of us in attendance. More often than not, the percentages are mired in apathy and wish to stay anonymous.
Sad as this may be, not everyone can be Armenian by name only. It takes work, commitment, money, and sacrifice. It takes a little bit of synergy.
On this Thanksgiving, let us pray for the strength it takes to remain conscientious Armenians, continue fighting relentlessly for justice and recognition, and keep the momentum going with future generations in mind.
The Rockies may tumble. Plymouth Rock may crumble. But our bountiful heritage is here to stay. Be thankful for its vitality. Enjoy its sustenance.