History in the making

I am not a confrontational person.  I despise it.  I loathe it.  When faced with confrontation I get shaky, nervous and anxious.  I can't keep emotions in check and most likely will start crying.  So when faced with the following scenario, I took the chickens way out and decided to write an email to those involved instead.. I'm such a baby! 

To whom this may concern,

My name is Erin Hooley, and I currently have two children in the Lower School program at *name withheld* (K4 & K5). My family and I moved to Sao Paulo 4 months ago from the United States. Yesterday, we had the great privilege of attending the annual Thanksgiving celebration put on by the *name withheld* PTA. It was a WONDERFUL event, and a great family day for us and all else who attended! As an American citizen, I appreciate the efforts that went into acknowledging this great traditional celebration of my home country. The food was wonderful, the decor provided by the students was beautiful, and there was an abundance of activities for every age group!

I do however, have one concern. As I was photographing some of the events and works of art, I came upon the main display that was placed outside the main entrance doors to the cafeteria. As everyone entered they were able to read the basic facts on the first Thanksgiving. It was a darling display, but revisions had been made that were misleading. In two places, the word "God" had been covered up with white out (I have attached pictures for your review). I know that there are times when being politically correct may be necessary, but regarding historical events, I feel that important truths should not be taken out. "God" had everything to do with the first Thanksgiving, and I feel it is a dishonor of the celebration to remove Him from it. 

The term "Pilgrim" is derived from that of "pilgrimage" which is a religious journey. They came to America to find a land where they could be free to practice religion as they wanted. To have a religious opinion different from that of The Church of England, under the reign of King Henry VIII in the 1600s was dangerous and punishable by large fines or even death. After receiving much persecution, the pilgrims attempted to gain the blessing of the King and had petitioned him to allow them to form their own church. The King denied the pilgrim's request. After an unsuccessful attempt to reside in Holland, in 1620, the Pilgrims moved back to England and prepared to leave for the New World.

The Thanksgiving celebration is a time when we celebrate the successes brought about by the journey the pilgrims made to the "New World"- a journey that never would have taken place without the quest for religious freedoms and the ability to worship "God" as they choose. Religious freedom is one of the most cherished rights that our Constitution promises us as Americans. Not all countries around the globe allow their citizens that right. I feel it is a disservice to misrepresent the holiday as something that erases Him altogether. Despite whatever our beliefs may be, history is history, and in the first Thanksgiving, "God" was very much a part. With all the incredible hard work that goes into such a successful production, I feel it incredible that this seemed to be the only hiccup in the entire day! :) I know it may be the last thing on your mind, but I thought it important to bring to your attention. I am not aware of who did it or why the revisions were made, and really that doesn't matter, but as the majority of the people who attended the celebration were not US citizens, I feel it important to have our countries' history portrayed correctly, and feel strongly that that can be done in a strictly informational manner without encroaching on ones personal beliefs. I greatly look forward to attending the celebration next year, and would be happy to assist in anything that may be needed to make it a success for all who attend! Thank you again for all of your wonderful efforts in making each school year memorable.


Erin Hooley

For further research and study on the tradition, I have included some helpful articles:

Now you may now be thinking I am a total spaz case, but it is an issue that astounds me!  As a society we are so willing to talk openly about everything whether it be safe sex practices for teens, politics, gay/lesbian relationships or race and gender discrimination, but when it comes to religion, we are scared stiff!  Why is that??  One look at the Constitution and you can hardly argue that the United States wasn't founded by God-fearing men!  Why are we so afraid to admit it?  Acknowledging history doesn't mean you have to agree with it.  Despite whatever we personally believe, we can still be open to learning about others' beliefs as well.


  1. Proud of you, Liz! Love you forever!!!

  2. Wow, those deletions really are rather ridiculous. Good for you for confronting them in a respectful way.

  3. Thanks everyone :) They were very pleasant in their responses and it looks like a more tasteful bulletin board will be made for next year!