Coming to America

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By: Wayne Brown

We are all born somewhere, grow up somewhere, and a great number of us remain within a few miles of that place our entire lives. If you ask us, most will reply that they are there because it is the best place on earth. More importantly, it is home and that makes it a special place that one really does not want to leave in most cases. On this Thanksgiving Day 2010, I began to consider that trait in the human beings that make up America and I could not help weighing in on the Pilgrims who came to this great land and started it all.

Even in today’s society with all the rapid transportation modes and all the choices, many people find it very difficult to leave their home and that family they love to set out on a journey in life. Think about that same reluctance in the early 1600’s. Think about the crude transportation methods and especially the fears that might be associated with a journey across a seemingly endless ocean. In fact, a journey to nowhere it would seem given one knows so little of what is on the other side and has so many roots in the lands they are currently living upon.

Such was the situation with the Pilgrims. I seriously doubt the majority of these people really wanted to leave their homes and come to America if they felt there was a reasonable choice. Many might point out that they most certainly did have a choice which is a true statement. But keep in mind, these were a people of great religious belief and they desired to practice their religion free of the oppressions of the church and the King who ruled it. Their choice to remain in their homeland was a choice that called for turning their back on freedom and liberty and for too many that was a price that was too high to pay.

The new land represented freedom from oppression for these individuals and religious groups. We may have difficulty relating to that because we all live in a free country at the present. I think we all are currently looking at some of the actions of our federal government and wondering how long that will be true at the present but so far we are not yet faced with such a choice.

Boarding large wooden ships bound for America was quite a gamble. So much could happen at the hands of the sea in that day. The perilous storms encountered at sea could swallow a ship and all upon it. The living conditions aboard were marginal at best and not likely too sanitary. The potential for disease was high. The potential to never reach land on the other side was high. The potential to encounter savages and die at their hands in an unknown land was also high, yet these people boarded the ships and sailed for America. That singular act spoke volumes of the courage and determination they possessed.

The first settlers had entered into an agreement with the King of England to come to America and settle in the colony then known as the Virginia Colony. Their ship arrived in the Provincetown Harbor near Cape Cod. This was New England and not the Virginia Colony. On the day after their arrival, the new colonists decided to band together in a body politic and settle in New England rather than follow the agreement with the King of England and proceed to Virginia. At that point, they drew up and signed the Mayflower Compact. The body is words making up that compact is included below. It already bears a strong likeness to documents which would emerge later as the Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights, and The Constitution.

The Mayflower Compact

In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are under-written, the loyal subjects of our dread sovereign Lord, King James, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland King, Defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one of another, covenant and combine our selves together into a civil body politic, for our better ordering and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the Colony, unto which we promise all due submission and obedience. In witness whereof we have hereunder subscribed our names at Cape Cod, the eleventh of November [New Style, November 21], in the year of the reign of our sovereign lord, King James, of England, France, and Ireland, the eighteenth, and of Scotland the fifty-fourth. Anno Dom. 1620.

It is with the strength of each other’s support that these early settlers could gain the fortitude to cast their fate upon the winds and ocean tides and sail off for America and its promise of religious freedom. For that opportunity, they were willing to risk their very lives. As we live here in this great land today, we all must ask ourselves what, if anything, are we willing to take such a risk. Sadly, we have too many years under our belt of security, comfort, liberty, and freedom to think that things could be any other way than they are. Most of us cannot imagine the need to lay down our lives to protect our freedoms yet the challenge for these people was very real.

As we pass this Thanksgiving season, we need to pause and give thanks that these very special people once walked the earth; that they possessed the courage and determination to risk all that they knew and come to America for the promise of a new life. In remembering their important steps in creating the basis for all we have today, we need to make a commitment to preserve and protect all that they held sacred and cherish those freedoms which so many have shed their blood to sustain. We have much to be thankful for in America even in our worse days. At the same time, our freedom, our liberty, and our ability to sustain it in the future rides greatly on the courage and determination that we can muster today for those who will follow behind us tomorrow.

At the same time, let us also remember those great Native Americans who were already here and in charge of the land that would be America. In many ways, their future was destroyed in the process and for that we should pause in sorrow. Give thanks that so much of their great history and respect for this great land has survived and pray that no one will ever again be treated in such a fashion within the borders of this great country. Let us not forget that this was their home and they shared our same traits for the love of their place of birth and their home. God Bless America.

© Copyright WBrown2010. All Rights Reserved.

 

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Comments 23 comments

CheyenneAutumn profile image

CheyenneAutumn 6 years ago

I loved this Wayne. It is a great hub and the choice of music is powerful. Thank You. We do indeed have much to be thankful for everyday!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

My dream is going to America. I know America is the powerful country where all the nations come together and life peaceful in America. I hope in thanksgiving day, we all grateful we can life in the beautiful world, including in America. I hope I can see you in person, Wayne. I thought this hub is your dedication as the citizen of America. I pray for you.

Blessing and hugs,

Prasetio


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

Beautiful, powerful and awesome piece of writing, Wayne.


50 Caliber profile image

50 Caliber 6 years ago from Arizona

Wayne, awesome write, excellent read, Just spent a week on White River reservation, got home Thursday night after another week off the reservation, roaming free and getting winter meat, we've still got a great country,Peace 50


samiaali profile image

samiaali 6 years ago

Hi Wayne Brown, I have often wondered the same thing about the settlers who came to America. They must have been very courageous people, as it must have been so difficult every step of the way. Imagine, getting on a wooden ship to sail an ocean, not knowing what was at the end of that voyage, or if you could even make it anywhere. They were truly brave and determined people! Thanks for the great Hub! :)


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@CheyenneAutumn...Just an impulse write on the day after Thanksgiving. Glad you enjoyed it. WB

@Prasetio30...Hopefully your dream will come true someday and you will come to America and find that I have become a famous author! LOL! Thanks so much. I am very glad that you enjoyed it. WB

@breakfastpop...Thanks so much...your words are greatly appreciated! WB

@50 Caliber Good luck on that winter kill...you are truly a man who still survives by the land. Thanks Dusty! WB

@samiaali...No doubt they were either brave or so desperate for freedom that risking their lives seemed a small price to pay for it. Glad you enjoyed this one! WB


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

The "settlers" included "misfits," prisoners and slaves... The rugged individualism provided the "grist" of our heritage to dare to be ourselves with innovative and creative thinking...


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@dallas93444...Yes, men with nothing to lose..perhaps we should empty out the prisons and see if it gets us back on course! LOL! Thanks. WB


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

What an honorable tribute to the men, woman and children who took all those risks of leaving their land and family to strike out on this unknown journey.

They were people of tremendous willpower and courage and I thank you Wayne Brown for honoring them with this beautiful tribute to them. Bravo..and I tip my hat for God Blessing America..for that matter the whole world.

A fitting video added not forgetting our native brothers and sisters who sacrificed for their country as well.. Peace my friend.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@saddlerider1...Thank you sir! It all came to me on the day after Thanksgiving and I was compelled to write it! WB


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

I also believe it takes courage, hope, faith and outstanding determination to replace the known with the unknown. I take my hat off for all pioneers, pilgrims and settlers. Unfortunately there were amongst them also bad people who grabbed the opportunity to flee – an inevitable trend of similar events.

Thanks for ‘The Mayflower Compact’ – first time I read this impressive document.

This is a beautiful tribute to the settlers of your country, Wayne, and it is sad that your natives, like our Koi-San people, became extinct in the process of development.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@MartieCoetser...Yes, I suppose America could have become nothing more than a penal colony had there had been some people of good conscience just seeking religious freedom. The situation with the Native Americans was a sad one and certainly driven by greed. It remains sad today in many ways as these proud people never recovered from those times. Thanks for your good comments, Martie. WB


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Perhaps our greatness is all of the "people" contributed and the aggregate of our differences has produced a stronger society where it is OK to be different, it is OK to be the same, it is OK to be yourself... "US - AKA us - we the people" is inclusive...


lisadpreston profile image

lisadpreston 6 years ago from Columbus, Ohio

Really nice Wayne. I especially want to thank you for including the Native Americans. I'm half Irish and have Native American and we sure got a raw deal. I wish we could have all shared the land and learned from each other in peace. Thank you for the mention and a beautiful hub.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@lisadpreston...Greed and power seems to span all generations through all times and probably always will as long as mankind walks the earth. I find it interesting that we record so the history of the Native American shoved aside on the lands as if they were brush and trees standing in the way of progress. It was done without apology or regret for the most part. Between those acts and slavery, there are not many darker points in our history as a people. Thanks for your good comments. WB


CMerritt profile image

CMerritt 6 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

Wayne, again nice hub!

We truly do have so much to be thankful for, and our schools don't teach this to our kids as they used to.

This is a great story all kids should read.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@CMerritt...The sad aspect of our society today is that our education system goes so far to teach our own children to be ashamed of their heritage. Some warped mind somewhere along the way decided that we had it all wrong and need to spend the rest of our lives apologizing for it and possibly destroying our children's self-esteem in the process. Certainly we have some dark moments in our history but overall, we have a heritage and a story as a people that we all should be proud of and we should preserve it for those who question how we came to be. Thanks for your good words, I do so appreciate them! WB


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

Buttons up! I second this emotion!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas Author

@Micky Dee...Thanks much for those up buttoms and the good comment! WB


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago

I surely enjoyed this great article, WB. You are a wordsmith par excellence, my friend. You have a way of eloquently articulating your ideas that is truly a gift. Thank you.


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@James A Watkins...Thank you sir...I take that as a mighty big compliment coming from a guy who is the guru of wordsmithing in my mind. You write some mighty fine stuff yourself so I am quite pleased to hear you comment on anything I do...it's an honor for me! WB


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Beautiful. It makes me think of my refugee kids. They truly had no choice in their journey, but luckily they seem pleased with their new country. I heard the grown-ups talking the other day, and they used the word asylum several times. Not sure if it is political or religious or something else -- but our country does offer so much to so many. Thanks for reminding us!


Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 5 years ago from Texas Author

@Truckstop Sally...Be thankful for that front row seat you have to watch those young faces discover that which is America...and you are giving them the tools to do it with! WB

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