Explore the real Thanksgiving story and why it resonates differently this year

When most Americans think of First Thanksgiving, many probably think of the Mayflower Pilgrims who gather outside with Native Americans for a big feast of turkey, bread, and colorful fall vegetables.

But as the country braces for an unknown holiday season amid a global pandemic, the real story behind this uniquely American tradition resonates differently this year.


Fox Nation’s new Thanksgiving special, “A Very Nation Thanksgiving” explores the little-known difficulties and obstacles pilgrims face on their way to the New World, and focuses on their spirit of gratitude, strength and perseverance despite the devastating losses they suffered.

In September 1620, the Mayflower departed from Plymouth, England, with 102 passengers on board. Some were fleeing religious persecution, others were seeking prosperity. They were all looking for the chance to build a new life. Two months later, the ship made a first landing on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, before establishing the Plymouth Colony.

Within a year, almost half of the new arrivals had died.

The Mayflower II, a replica of the original ship that brought Pilgrims to Massachusetts in 1620, is seen in Plymouth, Mass., In 2014.

The Mayflower II, a replica of the original ship that brought Pilgrims to Massachusetts in 1620, is seen in Plymouth, Mass., In 2014.
(AP Photo / Stephan Savoia, file)

“It was a terribly dark and cold winter, very freezing outside, and a lot of people on board were sick,” Lea Filson, a descendant of Mayflower, told Fox News. “At the end of this winter, there were only 51 left.”

What most consider the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in October 1621 after the pilgrims’ first successful corn harvest in the New World – made possible with the help of the Wampanoags, who taught the settlers how to grow corn and how to master other survival skills.

“The Wampanoags really helped and it was the first time real families came to the New World with small children and the Wampanoags were very helpful,” said Filson. “They helped teach the pilgrims how to plant and create a good harvest, and eventually a covenant of peace was accepted by both parties which they kept for a good half century.”


The Fox Nation special, hosted by Brian Kilmeade, co-host of “Fox & Friends”, pays tribute to the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower landing at Plymouth Rock. The program features a glimpse of Filson, chief museum historian Plimoth Patuxet, Richard Pickering and others, as they take viewers through the story of the first Thanksgiving, the establishment of the holiday by the American presidents and changing American traditions today.

To watch “A Very Nation Thanksgiving” and for more exclusive vacation content, visit Fox Nation and join us today.

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