I Celebrate Two Thanksgiving Days…
And This Is Why

Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving Day in America. However, during the last several centuries, there have been numerous other Thanksgiving Days. In merry ol’ England, there was a thanksgiving in 1588 for Lord Nelson’s defeat of Spanish and French fleets at the battle of the Spanish Armada. In less than two decades after the Spanish Armada, the Brits had a Day of Thanksgiving due to the failed Gunpowder Plot in 1605. Over the years, that thanksgiving morphed into Guy Fawkes Day.

However, our Thanksgiving Day in the States dates back to 1863 when Lincoln made an official day on the last Thursday of November. However, our Thanksgiving Day had to do with Union victories against the South. I don’t think that the South spent a great deal of time eating turkey and dressing while thanking God for Union victories over them.

However, when we, in the 21st century, think about Thanksgiving Day, it was due to the Pilgrims in 1621, which was their first harvest in the new land. However, the Puritans weren’t into celebrating anything other than what they called the Christian Sabbath. The actual date for Thanksgiving was in the early fall somewhere between early September and early November.

The first Thanksgiving

We all know the story of the Mayflower arriving to the new world. Unfortunately, the winter of their arrival was quite bitter, and they stayed aboard the Mayflower. By the following March, only half the original sailors and passengers survived their first winter in the New World. Interestingly, Abenaki and Squanto helped the newcomers to North America. After a couple generations, that rapprochement unfortunately ended between the Native Americans and the Europeans.

However, I celebrate two Thanksgiving Days. My second Thanksgiving first took place on December 30, 2017 in Nyaung Shwe, Myanmar. My family took me to this restaurant where we celebrated.

It was a wonderful time of celebrating our time together as a family. I had met them four years prior on my first trip to Myanmar. I was a stranger in a distant and strange land. I felt like the Pilgrims. I wanted to come to Myanmar for all sorts of reasons. One critically important reason was to interview the Lady, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Beyond that significant reason, I wanted to visit Rangoon, which is now called Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Inle Lake, and the Golden Rock. I wanted to see a distant and strange land that most Americans would have difficulty in placing on a map let alone every visiting.

I can’t explain my drive to travel overseas. After graduate school, I began my circumnavigating the world with my first port of call being Scotland. Then Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Indochina, Tibet, and China were places that I visited. I have spent over two years in the past half century traveling overseas. It was an educational adventure. George Santayana said, “A child educated only at school is an uneducated child.” I’ve taught for over the past 20-years, and I have pushed every student to travel…essentially to get truly educated.

There hasn’t been a place that I didn’t enjoy…none. However, there is one place that captured me. Myanmar was the single most influential place that I have every been. I went there during winter break in 2013 and again in 2017. During winter break in 2019, guess where I will be going? I’m a different person today than I was before my first trip to Myanmar.

I have written about this many times before. I thought that I was driven back in the 60s during the civil rights movement. Man, that pales in comparison to where I am now. Back then, I was in my 20s and full of energy. Today, I am in my 70s far more determined to change at least a part of the world in which I care a great deal.

A decade ago, I danced with death twice and lead Death on the dancefloor of my life… successfully. It was because of Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture that I was able to understand my dances and to come alive.

Then there was George Bernard Shaw who wrote, “Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” I finally understood that for me in my life.

Joseph Campbell also pushed me, “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning, and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.” Essentially, Campbell was saying for each of us to put meaning into your lives. That is what Shaw wrote. Each of us are to create ourselves.

However, Bobby Kennedy, who was the most important of all my mentors, paraphrased of George Bernard Shaw’s statement from Back to Methuselah. I have used it in all my signatures in all the emails that I have written for decades. “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” In addition, Bobby wrote,

Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Granted, here I am at 75 finally realizing how to truly live my life with a purpose. I might have been able to do it before my twilight years, but at least, I am doing it now. And finally, the crème de la crème…Myanmar. These next photos are from my first trip to Myanmar.

Ko Ko, Ti Ti, and Moh Moh

Fatty, Moh Moh, and Snow

Ti Ti and Moh Moh

Ti Ti and I playing Scrabble

Snow and Fatty in school

On the evening of December 30, 2017, my family celebrated our first Thanksgiving Day. We are very thankful for our family. A stranger came to Myanmar to interview the Lady and discovered a young lady, Ti Ti. That first encounter changed me. It started with Ti Ti and me playing Scrabble. That was the vehicle that has linked our families. However, a year ago during winter break from teaching, I returned to my family. In the four years, my three granddaughter grew up a great deal.

Here are a few of the reasons to be thankful….


Ko Ko

Ti Ti

My family

Ti Ti and Snow


My granddaughters

Fatty and Ko Ko



Moh Moh

Ti Ti

My drive, love, and care for my family has morphed into my extended family. The students with whom my granddaughters attend school make up that extended family. That is the reason for We Are Family in Myanmar, Inc.

Hopefully, within a couple of months, I will have gotten approval from the IRS as a not for profit charity to raise funds for the 1250 laptops and to improve the Internet to the schools where my granddaughters attend. Go to We Are Family, and read the introduction. These are the three things that I am asking you to do.

1. I am asking you to contribute to the money necessary to enhance the Internet reception and purchase 1250 laptops. Consider contributing to the purchase of one or a hundred laptops and improving Internet reception.

2. My next request is to send this link, We Are Family, to ten of your friends and ask them to send it to ten of their friends…ad infinitum. Bobby Kennedy said, “Some men see things as they are and say, why; I dream things that never were and say, why not.” I am a dreamer, but my dreams will benefit my extended family in Myanmar with your help.

3. My final request is to consider returning with me to Myanmar with all the laptops for the two schools. The sooner that I raise a half million dollars, the sooner that we can go to Myanmar and see where your investment in laptops will benefit the education of the next generation.

I am serious about those three requests. If you return with me in just over a year from now, you, my family, extended family, and I will celebrate Thanksgiving Day on December 30, 2019 that restaurant.