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First Thanksgiving in St. Augustine?

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Updated: 11/25/2009 11:15 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE , Fla. -- The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche wants to rewrite the history books.

Eric Johnson is the director of the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche. He says the Spanish were the first ones to come ashore on September 8, 1565. He says it was Pedro Menendez who first put up a flag on the shoreline of St. Augustine.
"When he arrived he knelt down, kissed a cross and planted a flag of Spain in the ground," said Johnson.

A much larger cross stands now where Menendez and his men docked their boat along the coast in St. Augustine. They held their first mass and Thanksgiving dinner at an altar shaped made out of logs.
"Pedro did this as an act of Thanksgiving to God that they had arrived here safely. That is about 55 years before the first Thanksgiving meal was celebrated in Plymouth," said Johnson.

That's why Johnson is trying to change the history books to recognize the feast in St. Augustine, but he says it's being met with resistance.
"Those history books told a story that was pretty much from the English side of things. We just want the record set straight that what the Pilgrims did was significant, but 55 years before they did it the Spanish were here," said Johnson.

If you take the historic tour around the city, you'll hear the tour guides talk about Menendez's arrival. But Johnson doesn't think anyone is going to change the way they celebrate Thanksgiving.
"I doubt that people will rush out and buy meal of beans, seabisqets, clams and oysters as a specific Thanksgiving meal," said Johnson.

The Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche is also planning the 450th celebration of Menendez's arrival in 2015.
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