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EDITORIAL: Give thanks and be proud

Our nation's history is filled with great triumph and equally great tragedy.

But more than a few folks are trying their best to re-write history by ignoring the bad stuff and simply focusing on the good. Nobody wants to belabor the things that drag us or our society down, but sometimes the bad stuff teaches us important lessons that help ensure a brighter future for us all.

Facts are facts, even if those facts are tough to swallow, and history should remain untouched so that future generations better understand how the United States and its people ended up the way they are.

Case in point, an elementary school principal in Somerville, Mass. is attempting to "ban" fall holiday celebrations because of the dark past connected to some of the celebrations.

Anne Foley has apparently tried to ban Thanksgiving, Halloween and Columbus Day celebrations in her school after deciding that the holidays were too "insensitive."

Clearly, Foley never stopped by any of the elementary schools in New Richmond on Halloween. The kids and staff have so much fun that day they can hardly contain themselves. It doesn't appear many people are psychologically harmed by the events of the day, even though the history of the celebration can be traced back to pagan rituals.

And while it's true that Christopher Columbus and his crew committed great sins against the native peoples in the new world, the holiday that carries his name doesn't appear to glorify those terrible things. It just gives school children a chance to learn a bit more about explorers who changed the face of the world forever.

The birth of every nation always begins somewhere. It just so happens that Columbus's contribution to history came from having the courage to set off into the unknown and stumbling upon a place that would eventually become the United States. The national holiday is not meant to celebrate the eventual poor conduct of a man and his crew, it's meant to provide a reminder of that initial discovery.

As for the pilgrims and the birth of the Thanksgiving holiday, it's true that over time some of the early settlers seized land and took the native people as slaves and killed others.

But the holiday doesn't celebrate those things. It celebrates the spirit of the American people in giving thanks for the blessings they enjoy. We don't suggest that history should forget about the tragedy that befell many tribes in the U.S., but we do think the act of being thankful is something worth celebrating at home and at school.

The slow march toward whitewashed history is disturbing at best. We just hope that eventually calmer heads will prevail in all of this craziness. We see no harm in conducting appropriate celebrations and placing the proper emphasis on each of those special days.

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