Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. As an American, there is nothing which pleases me more than sitting down with friends and family and feasting on obese, genetically modified fowl, loading up on carbs, drinking my fill of fine wine and then laying back on the couch in a food stupor while watching the Detroit Lions get whalloped on the gridiron on a ridiculously-sized flat screen TV.
Thanksgiving is not just about excesses, though. It is a holiday which is pure in every respect, because it cannot be perverted by the influence of others or misinterpreted or distorted in any way. It is the most inclusive and adaptable of all holidays.
Thanksgiving is invincible.
No matter how you celebrate it, it is uniquely American, no matter what ethnic background you come from or what faith you choose (or not) to subscribe to. It is a holiday that celebrates freedom, the most basic tenet of our society that was practiced and revered ever since the first colonists arrived on the shores of Virginia some 400 years ago.
Freedom has allowed American society to advance considerably since the dawn of our nation. With that freedom, we have conquered the land, making it do our bidding to produce the food that feeds our country and the world.
We have built great towns and cities, growing to a bursting population of over 311 million strong. We have built roads, railways and bridges that span one of the largest continents on the planet.
We have mastered the power of flight and have put any destination on the globe within our reach.
We have industrialized and built factories that can produce almost anything imaginable and mastered the transmission of electrical power and harnessed the atom.
We have explored the depths of the ocean and revealed many of its mysteries. We have sent our people into space, and we have gazed upon the sands of other worlds.
With the creation of the Internet, we have built an international telecommunications infrastructure thas enables billions of people to communicate instantaneously via data, voice and video using devices that were the stuff of science fiction only a decade or two ago.
With the advent of search and decision engines and data mining, we can answer just about any question with only a few keystrokes, or with the power of our own voice.
We have designed computing machines that can mimic our own thought processes, and can help us understand the most complex of problems, including about why we are who we are, where we came from, and to decode the fundamental instructions for what makes us tick.
All of this is due to the advancement of technology, much which has been brought forth largely by the will of the American people.
As a technologist I am proud to be part of a society which promotes the freedom to do all of these things. While all of these achievements are substantial and we should revere those Americans who made these things possible, there is still much for us left to do.
With that said, I hope you'll excuse me while I have another plate of some juicy white meat, a glass of Pinot Noir and a pile of butter-soaked mashed potatoes and gravy.