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Leno's Thanksgiving Quiz Shows the Need for Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Last night on The Tonight Show, Jay Leno did one of his man on the street bits. It was a Thanksgiving Trivia Challenge.  What we have here runs about a minute and a half. It's a montage of Leno and several unidentified people that he stopped on the street in Universal City, California.  Now, obviously, I'm playing this for you because it connects directly to good old Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims, which has the truthful story of Thanksgiving as part of the book, part of the story. 

Let's listen to what Leno found as he ventured out to the streets of Universal City, California.

LENO:  What year was the first Thanksgiving?

(bell rings)

CONTESTANT:  I guess I'll hit it.  '66, 1966?

(audience roars laughter)

LENO:  1966.  The first Thanksgiving was what year? (pause) Feel free to ring the bell at any time.

(audience laughter)

(bell rings)

CONTESTANT:  1492.

(buzzer sounds)

LENO:  1492.  What does that number mean to you, 1492?

CONTESTANT:  Well, I don't know. I --

LENO:  Does that have any...?

CONTESTANT:  That's when Columbus went cruising.

LENO:  "That's when Columbus went cruising."  Okay.  Where did the first Pilgrims land?

(bell rings)

CONTESTANT:  Hawaii!

(buzzer sounds)

LENO:  Hawaii? 

(audience laughter)

LENO: Why Hawaii?

CONTESTANT:  It's where I live.

LENO:  What president declared Thanksgiving a national holiday?

CONTESTANT:  Ronald Reagan.

(buzzer sounds)

LENO:  Ronald Reagan?  No.  What year would that have been?

CONTESTANT:  1940.

(buzzer sounds)

LENO:  Reagan was president in 1940. What year was Reagan president?

CONTESTANT:  I'm gonna go with '86.

LENO:  Okay, where did the Pilgrims land when they got here?

(bell rings)

CONTESTANT:  East Coast?

(laughter)

LENO:  Where?

(bell rings)

CONTESTANT:  Maryland? Boston?

CONTESTANT:  Plymouth Rock?

CONTESTANT:  Hawaii?

(buzzer sounds)

(bell rings)

LENO:  Plymouth Rock.  Okay, sir.  How many days did the first Thanksgiving last?  (bell rings)  Hit your bell.

CONTESTANT:  Three!

LENO:  Three. That's correct. How do you know it was three?

CONTESTANT:  You need a day for breakfast, a day for lunch, and a day for dinner.

(audience laughter)

(buzzer sounds)

LENO:  What president declared Thanksgiving a national holiday?

CONTESTANT:  Theodore Roosevelt!

LENO:  No.

CONTESTANT:  Benjamin Franklin?

LENO:  Benjamin Franklin.  And when was Benjamin Franklin president?

CONTESTANT:  No idea.

LENO:  Did he fly the kite while president?

CONTESTANT:  Yes.

LENO:  No.  He wasn't president and he didn't fly the kite while he was president.

RUSH:  Do you happen to know who the first president was that declared Thanksgiving a national holiday.  George Washington.  Thanksgiving Proclamation.  The very first president to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday was the first president, George Washington.  And why was it a day of Thanksgiving?  What were we thanking?  Who and why were we thanking anybody?  We were thanking God.  Same thing the Pilgrims did.  The Pilgrims were thanking God for the inspiration to organize themselves and survive when they landed in the New World, and George Washington, the first Thanksgiving was a thanks to God for the founding of the country and just the freedoms and everything that had happened in founding the country. 

Now, I don't know how much of this is real, but the fact of the matter is that a lot of people don't know the true story of Thanksgiving.  Most people think that what's been taught -- see if this isn't what you learned or maybe even what your kids learned -- that the Pilgrims got here, they were a ragtag bunch of racists and bigots.  They were helpless, and they got here, and they didn't belong, and they knew it when they got here, that they didn't belong.  They didn't know anything.  They were pampered, religious zealots, and they didn't know how to grow corn or hunt or do anything. 
             

And the Indians, the Native Americans, whose land the Pilgrims would subsequently steal, extended great love and compassion and taught the Pilgrims basically how to survive, taught them how to live, how to grow corn, how to do popcorn, how to kill turkey, how to prepare it.  Everything but eat it.  The pilgrims knew how to do that.  But nothing else.  And then after the Indians had extended all of that kindness and compassion, the Pilgrims got together with the cavalry and started wiping them out.  That is pretty much what Thanksgiving is taught as being.  The pilgrims are a bunch of helpless conquerors who took advantage of the innocent and affectionate Native Americans, took everything they had after the Indians showed them how to survive, and then killed the Indians and wiped 'em out and claimed everything for $24, including Manhattan. 

That story's not true, either, by the way.  But that's what a lot of people are taught, and of course nothing could be further from the truth.  And even though this is an extreme comedy bit, there's no question, I don't know how much of it is actually written and how much of it is actually legit man-on-the-street, but, folks, this is why the idea of doing this book was so appealing to me. Just to counter the falsehoods and the BS that's being taught to young people today about this country at large and particularly its founding. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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