It's not that the Holle brothers aren't proud of their ancestry. They are, otherwise they wouldn't be members in good standing of the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Mayflower Descendants.
It's just that they don't consider their ancestry any big deal. "Look," said Bradford Holle, "We aren't in the habit of living on the reputations of our forebears."
"It gives one a sense of roots," added Kendrick Holle, "but it sure doesn't help you get ahead in the world."
The Holles are bachelors, retired for three years from the Army Corps of Engineers. They are 53-year-old identical twins and live on different floors of the same Arlington apartment building.
Thanksgiving, they say, augurs no special significance, even though they say they are directly descended from the first governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford. "He was the head man, the leader of the colony," Kendrick Holle said. "Came here to escape religious oppression."
"Frankly, I don't know much about the man," admitted Bradford Holle. "Never dwelled on it."
The Holles said they verified their lineage with the help of birth certificates and family and official records. "My mother always told us about it," said Bradford Holle, "but it's never been the most significant part of our lives. Blood lines don't mean much in America. It's what you do that counts, not where you come from."
The brothers are proudest of their military service records, building roads and bridges in Turkey, Vietnam and Korea.
They joined the local chaper of the Mayflower society several years ago mainly, Bradford Holle said, for its social atmosphere. The group's 600 local members meet four times a year to discuss the Pilgrims and in mid-November of each year they share a Compact Dinner, commemorating the creation of Plymouth's constitutional government.
The Holles said they will get together on Thanksgiving Day with their parents in Washington and eat turkey, cranberry sauce, ham and pumpkin pie.
Nothing special, said Kendrick Holle.