Today is quite a day for a bunch of immigrants here in the United States. Big dang day.
You see, on this day in 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Southampton, England. The history books claim the boat set off with 102 Pilgrims. Of those only 17 were women.
Let’s get a few things straight, right off the bat about this Pilgrim business. It is pretty much defined in a couple of ways. The first definition says it is a person who journeys to a sacred place for religious reasons. Or a person who travels on long journeys.
The second term defines it as a member of a group of English Puritans fleeing religious persecution who sailed in the Mayflower and founded the colony of Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620.
So. There they were, and there they came. To America, land of the Native Indians.
I don’t blame them for coming. Who wouldn’t want to leave persecution. And if you are already a Puritan, and it is WORSE than being a Puritan…. holy-crap-a-moly. Rock that boat, but don’t tip that boat over. But that is what sort of happened.
When the trip was planned, and started out… there were two boats. The other one was called the Speedwell. They were both packed up and ready to go… but the Speedwell started leaking water. They decided to try it anyway. They patched. It leaked. They patched. It leaked.
After the two ships had sailed about 300 miles out to sea, the Speedwell again began to leak. Again. They all got WAY frustrated with the enormous amount of time lost. So they made the decision to leave the Speedwell behind. Speedwell out. Mayflower in. The Mayflower would go to America alone. Some of the passengers called it quits too. Others crammed onto the Mayflower. It was already too crowded to begin with. Not your typical Carnival Cruise Line Voyage.
So. From Plymouth, England, and on the course for America. By the time the Pilgrims had left England, they had already been living on board the ships for nearly a month and a half. The voyage itself across the Atlantic Ocean took 66 days, from their last departure on September 6, until Cape Cod was sighted on 9 November 1620. That is a long time.
Yep, they finally got here, as we know. And settled in.
But not without woe. As we know. (Hey… I’m a Poet.)
Getting to land was quite a task for them too. As the Mayflower approached land, they spotted Cape Cod. The big bunch of them decided to head south, to the mouth of the Hudson River in New York. They were going to settle there. Have a plantation and such.
But alas. Rough seas almost shipwrecked them. So. Risk taking was getting a LITTLE BIT old by this point. And Cape Cod would have to do. They spent the next month and a half exploring there. On December 25, 1620, they had finally decided upon Plymouth, and began construction of their first buildings.
And that my friends, is all she wrote.
The first real group of settlers, perhaps. At least they have their names in lights on this one.
It could have all gone much differently, but as a result…. here we sit. In America, as Americans.
Many of us are no longer Puritans. Or sailors. But most of us, at the very core, are still Pilgrims. That’s how we all got here, except for the Indians. On boats. Immigrants.
This land is your land. This land is my land. Or so it seems.
And always… always… good for us to remember.
“When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw.”
― Nelson Mandela
“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
― Søren Kierkegaard
“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves”
― Abraham Lincoln,