An American Thanksgiving/Christmas Turkey Dinner Speeches

Uploaded by techEIU on 15.03.2011

♪ [music playing-- no dialogue] ♪♪.
(Dr. Wafeek Wahby). Well, well, well.
Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey.
Thank you all for coming, and students who are from other
lands other than North America will notice that
we have support from all departments and all offices
of Eastern Illinois University supporting our work and programs
starting from the Provost and every one of them as you go
one by one left something to be here with us.
So would you please give them all a round of applause
as we start.
[audience applause].
Provost Lord what is Thanksgiving to you
and what's international and what's Eastern to you?
(Provost Blair Lord). That's quite a lot
of questions all at one time.
First of all, let me welcome everybody here.
President Perry may or may not be able to make it later.
He's at another event, and I'm on my way to another event.
But I do want to bring greetings on behalf of the institution
at Christmas time, the holiday time including Christmas.
And you, of course, are celebrating Thanksgiving.
A little factoid, many, many, many of us have the same meal
at Thanksgiving or at Christmas rather than
we do at Thanksgiving.
Americans typically eat turkey twice a year, at Thanksgiving
and Christmas and all of the week long that the turkey
lasts afterwards, it's a rather big beast.
Some of the friends that I've talked with about Thanksgiving
over the year talk about Thanksgiving from the standpoint
of an adult often being their favorite holiday of the season
or of the year.
Children love Christmas because they get all of the surprises
and the mystery and the gifts, but parents, adults often find
Thanksgiving to be the truly family event and this year
I flew back to be with my 91 year old father at Thanksgiving,
and my sister and brother couldn't make it.
And it's typically the one time of the year that families get
together as a family and have a celebration around a meal,
which is a very favorite meal although we only eat it twice.
So that's what I can say about Thanksgiving.
It's the one family event in our season, in our series
of holidays, and I guess I'll just stop.
I understand Dean Augustine has a story he's going to tell you
about Thanksgiving, and I have no idea, nobody tells stories
better than Dean Augustine, so we'll get to him next,
anyway, welcome.
[audience applause].
(Dr. Wahby). Of course all international
students know the name Dr. Bob Augustine,
Dr. Robert Augustine.
And here you will meet with him in person.
(Dean Robert Augustine). Well, well, thank you.
The Provost always brings the shine, and I'm the entertainment
you know, so he's the class and I'm kind of the entertainment,
but Dr. Wahby asked me to reflect with you for a moment
on Thanksgiving and American culture and why it was
he wanted you all to be a part of the American tradition
of Thanksgiving.
And Provost Lord said it right, I think the American custom
of Thanksgiving is about gathering around your family,
not necessarily people you are related to, but whomever you
think your family would be and to sit down and you share a big
meal with them as part of the understanding that the way that
we get through life, the way that we advance ourselves is
with those people who are around us who share what they have.
Some people might have a lot to share and some people bring just
a little bit to share, but our whole custom around Thanksgiving
is food and sort of the support we give each other.
And here at Eastern, you are our family.
Our family at Eastern is from everywhere around the world,
all around Illinois, all around the United States,
and all around the world.
And I think it is so incredibly amazing that Dr. Wahby had this
great idea to pull you together just as we would as Thanksgiving
culture and talk about and share with you a meal, but more
importantly to remind you and to remind all of us that the way
that we become global citizens, the way that we become educated
citizens is that we share together our experiences.
You tell us about your life experiences and we try to give
you a little taste of American life experience, and you know,
just like your real family, you know, we're never going
to let you go.
We will find you, we will be with you the rest of your life
whether or not you want us to be, but you're important
to us now.
You're a part of our EIU family, and I'm really delighted that he
had this great idea to sort of give you a taste of our
traditions but the real important part about our
Thanksgiving Day celebration is to bring you together
and to spend some time with each other.
So I too like the Provost have another obligation this evening,
and I'm delighted that there are so many fun things to do
at the holidays, but you folks enjoy this meal,
enjoy your camaraderie.
Remember this, and perhaps as you go on your way in life,
you won't forget and bring together other people around you
who will become part of your family later on and so enjoy
your meal and thanks for inviting me.
(Dr. Wahby). Thank you very much.
Now, I was going to introduce the rest of the deans that we
have here, but Dr. Ping Liu has to leave and I think that
he will become a dean very soon.
So would you please come, you met with Dr. Ping Liu,
and he was like a father to you I guess and brother and mentor
and a friend.
(Dr. Ping Liu). Thank you very much, godfather.
I will give you a Chinese version of Thanksgiving,
but just kidding for that.
I just want to say thank you to Dr. Wahby and everybody else
for coming, and I do want to emphasize one thing that
the graduate programs in technology really depend upon
a lot of many of us here sitting.
One example I want to share with you is a number.
And I wish every international student in the program are here
because so far this semester, we have a total of 151 graduate
students in the program, but out of those 151 students,
we have 41 international students.
The main purpose that we are doing this is that we want you
to feel you are welcome in Charleston, you are welcome
at EIU, and we are here for you guys.
So this is one thing I want to [unclear audio]
you to understand this here.
That's the main reason that when Dr. Wahby came to me and said
I want to organize this type of event, I said what, that makes
me think about my first semester, my first Thanksgiving
in the US, so that makes a big difference for me.
Thank you all very much and by the way, I have to leave because
of an emergency for the family.
(Dr. Wahby). Thank you very much.
Thank you very much.
Well, Dean Lanham is a smiling person.
I don't know.
He brings pleasure.
And our class and our school and our department and our program
are thankful to the library because of the support
that you give us.
And when you go to the library really you can visit the whole
world, you have the whole world inside the library.
So if you tell us just one second of your Thanksgiving
thing and introduce the faculty, the library people.
(Dean Alan Lanham). Well, my name is Alan Lanham,
and I have at least seen or met most of you, I think.
Also from the library here we have Nackil Sung who is
a professor in Library Technology Services.
And his assistant Sandy Nees who also runs the programs,
the lab programs on the fourth floor of the library,
so and I think that's the only other people from the library
that are here.
(Dr. Wahby). [unclear audio].
(Dean Lanham). Oh.
The camera will be better without my face.
Maybe I'll go here so it shows enough people.
I'll just say a little bit about Thanksgiving and Christmas both.
It's been mentioned that it's a family thing, but to me
Thanksgiving is very, very special because my family
was not very large.
My father had one brother and one sister, and so there were
only three children in the family.
And this was a time that everyone would come to visit
my grandmother at the same time and my grandmother would fix
the food and, you know, maybe the food would cover that whole
table and there's not that many people in the family.
She would just cook everything that she knew we liked,
and so if she knew you liked a certain kind of potatoes
we were going to have that kind of potatoes,
and if your favorite potatoes was a different kind,
we're going to have that too, you know.
And he likes another kind, we're having that also, and so she
would do this and she would not want any help from anybody,
you know, because she wanted to provide, it's sort of the
matriarch of the family would provide the Thanksgiving dinner
and so we all just loved that.
She passed away maybe 15 years ago, and we still miss getting
together with her because that's the tradition for us.
And as we all sit here, she would go around serving
everybody and making sure you have more and that nobody
is leaving here until we eat all this food, you know,
and she would make way too much food, but nonetheless
it was very meaningful to us that she was so giving.
She also had a full-time job, now why she thought she needed
to do that, we don't know, but except that that's
the way it's done.
The matriarch is supposed to provide and she would do that.
And so the cousins would all get together and laugh
and play games and whatever, but it was sort of a solemn day
for us to have Thanksgiving together.
And yet because the weather is better at Thanksgiving than
it is at Christmas, at least in North America, then we could go
outside and play games and be more active.
The Christmas, on the other hand, is usually like today
where it is very cold and so the family again would gather,
but no one is going outside after you get in.
And so as it has been mentioned, maybe the food is the same,
but there would be some other nice things about Christmas.
And one would be going to choose the Christmas tree.
And so we would go out and my father would take my sister
and I and we would go out into a farm, we lived in a town,
but we would go out to a farm of people that we knew
and we would cut down the tree and bring it home and have to
put the stand on it.
Today it's all very easy, you just take it out of a box
and stick it up.
But, no, you had to work for the Christmas tree and that made it
even more special to all of us because we got to choose
which one and how big it was and what kind of tree it was
and then you have to go home and decorate.
And sometimes we would make things to put on the tree
like popcorn, we would string popcorn or berries,
or something like that.
But more often, you would pick out some things
from the dime store.
We don't even have dime stores anymore because Wal-Mart
is the ultimate dime store, but back then you could find some
inexpensive ornaments to put on the tree.
And so we would collect them in a box, and you would keep it
upstairs in the attic and you would bring them down.
And so every Christmas then you would add a few more ornaments
to the box, and as you're puting the Christmas tree together
you have to tell the story of every ornament, okay and this
is all kinds of issues and problems for the family because
he thinks its his ornament, she thinks its her ornament,
kind of thing, you know.
The sister is like, I made that, no the brother made that one.
So it leads to a lot of very warm holiday memories
for the family, but of course over time, these holidays
are so important to our families that they become so laden with
memories that sometimes they get to be very emotional times
because maybe someone has passed away or someone had
to move away, they couldn't come this year.
So there's all kinds of sorrow because of happy memories,
sometimes happy memories bring sorrowful times
to special occasions.
So when we think of the holidays, very often,
we get extremely emotional.
And a lot of it is for joy and a lot of it is religious...
the whole birth of Jesus, all these things come together
and yet then there's always something, oh but Aunt Suzie
is not here because she died, you know.
Then all of a sudden, you don't want to mention Aunt Suzie
during the dinner or anything because everybody
will get upset.
So they are very important and they become so intensely
personal to people, but nonetheless, it's a happy joyous
time and everybody should enjoy it.
(Dr. Wahby). Thank you very much.
Now I would ask our Indian friends to tell us what
thank you in Indian would be like, thank you.
(male speaker #1). Translate it?
(Dr. Wahby). Just say it when you say
thank you to somebody, what do you say?
(male speaker #2). It's like [unclear audio].
(Dr. Wahby). Say it again.
(male speaker #1). [unclear audio].
(Dr. Wahby). [unclear audio].
(male speaker #2). Yeah, [unclear audio].
(Dr. Wahby). In Pakistan, what do they say?
(male speaker #3). [unclear audio].
(Dr. Wahby). And in English, it's thank you,
in Arabic it's [unclear audio].
And in [unclear audio] it's...
(male speaker #4). [unclear audio].
(Dr. Wahby). It kind of okay,
any other languages that I missed?
(male speaker #5). Merci.
[audience laughing].
(Dr. Wahby). Well, Thanksgiving is not
an American invention or an American feast
or an American time, it is universal, it's global.
It happened to be that Americans celebrate it on the first
Thursday of November, but I bet you in Egypt we have it
in March, in every country, every culture, every culture
would say thank you.
I will give this to you to save time for people to talk.
Pass this around, take one of these to know what the American
Thanksgiving is, but you have your Thanksgiving as well.
So pass around and you have the website to read more about it.
Where the idea started to have the Thanksgiving thing and it is
not all about food, but about fellowship as well.
It starts with "f" also and about what we have together
in common.
I first started was talking with Kathy, I told her Kathy I want
to do this, is it doable?
So she said, yes, so please give her a hand.
[audience applause].
Dr. Painter would you please bring Kathy here
and Dr. Woodley, where is Dr. Woodley?
Dr. Woodley, our chair, we want to say thank you, it's just
appropriate to say thank you and the Thanksgiving thing,
so would you please say something about it.
(Kathy Rhodes). Thank you, thank you so much,
thank you all very much.
(Dr. Wahby). Family and Consumer Sciences
(Kathy Rhodes). Me, he didn't mean you,
see this is what happens, everytime it never happens.
(Dr. Painter). Thanks, no its all Kathy,
Kathy Rhodes does this all the time,
she's absolutely wonderful, thank you very much.
(Kathy Rhodes). They're welcome.
(Dr. Painter). That's it, that's it.
(Kathy Rhodes). But if you don't eat,
it will truly be a traditional Thanksgiving dinner,
it will all be very, very cold.
That's what happens at family Thanksgivings or any family
gatherings, everybody gets chachachacha and people
forget to eat.
I don't need it, we have football too, stop getting that
[unclear audio].
(Dr. Wahby). We will eat because students
here have a final exam at 7:30, so we'll start eating fast.
Now, before we will do this I want to acknowledge the presence
of our chair, Dean Izadi, we used to say Chair Izadi,
now Dean Izadi, so thank you very much for coming,
any words of wisdom?
(Dean Mayhar Izadi). Let's eat.
[audience applause].
(Dr. Wahby). Very good, very good,
will you please, since you are in the mood of clapping
your hands and that will be the last thing we do,
clap your hands for CATS, Pete Grant...
[audience applause].
Pete Grant is not only a graduate of this program,
but he is a big supporter for whatever we do
in the technical things.
I've never approached him for a DVD or taping or anything,
he just gives his whole-hearted support and today I hid from him
that we will tape.
I told him come you are a guest of honor, so come and dine.
So by his senses, he sensed that we will tape it, so he taped it
for us, so thank you Pete for...
[audience applause].
Okay, now eat and enjoy.
(male speaker #4). Wahby, we all have to thank you
for organizing this memorable, those of us who are not from
this country this will be a most memorable occasion
to take back, it is unique, thank you for making it happen,
to talk about it versus experiencing it,
actually going to it, thank you very much that was.
(Dr. Wahby). [unclear audio]
thank you, okay, you start.
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