The movie Forrest Gump had no scene or specific mention of Thanksgiving. Did Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump Director) or Tom Hanks (the Star) or Steve Tisch/Wendy Finerman/Steve Starkey (the Producers) have something against Thanksgiving? My guess is “No!” Forrest Gump influenced historical events in the USA from 1945 (Forrest’s birth year) until the movie concluded in the mid-1980s (when little Forrest goes off to school). The Thanksgiving Tradition started long before Forrest began impacting the events of US history. If there were any Thanksgiving scenes originally written and filmed for the movie Forrest Gump … they must have been left on the cutting-room floor.
Just for fun, let’s pretend that Forrest Gump was alive at an earlier time. How might have Forrest influenced the Thanksgiving tradition that we know today? And more important to consider, how are you writing your own history and influencing your families, friends, and traditions?
Lets pretend that the very first Thanksgiving in 1621 might have never occurred if it wasn’t for Forrest Gump wandering away from the Pilgrim colony in Plymouth and meeting the Wampanoag Indian tribe. Imagine Forrest inviting these Native Americans back to the colony where they taught the Pilgrims how to plant seeds, grow corn, and eventually celebrate the bountiful fall harvest together as brothers and friends.
Or maybe …
In 1789, our Nation’s 1st President proclaimed a National Day in honor of the new United States Constitution. What if Forrest Gump was a reporter on the scene and mistakenly reported that President Washington exclaimed, ‘Thanksgiving’ when he actually said ‘Thank Goodness’ in response to the Constitution being ratified? The name we celebrate today was started by a gumpstake or simple-Gump-mistake.
Or maybe …
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the national Thanksgiving Day would be held on the last Thursday in November. Maybe as a direct result of Forrest Gump hosting President Lincoln, Lincoln’s controversial sister-in-law, Martha Todd White (Mary Todd Lincoln’s half-sister) and Martha’s Alabama cotton-plantation-owner-husband, Clement White, to dinner at the Gump House in Greenbow, Alabama. They most likely dined on turkey, cranberry, yams, and pumpkin pie on November’s last Thursday (11/26/1863). Should we call it a gumptation or Gump-Invitation?
Or maybe …
In 1941, Congress changed Thanksgiving to be the fourth Thursday in November (which is not always the last Thursday in November). Could this have happened directly because Forrest explained to FDR (after visiting the White House … again!)? that Lt. Dan’s father was being sent to fight the Nazis in Europe on the last Thursday of November and he was going to miss the Thanksgiving meal? Maybe a gumpodation or Gump-accommodation?
Wasn’t it wonderful the way Forrest Gump always seemed to be in the middle of history and his innocent comment or action made a significant difference in the way the world turned out? What if each of us believed that we do make a difference in the world by a single word, or a single act of kindness, or single act of courage? Thanksgiving is what it is today because of the remarkable events in our history, but also because of the great American Spirit of sharing and giving thanks.
Give Thanks! … Happy Bird-Day! … Happy Thanksgiving!
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Next Blog Date: Monday, November 30, 2010