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Stories, Quotes and Truths that reflect on the Meaning and History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Proclamation of Abraham Lincoln

A few powerful words from Abraham Lincoln who, in the midst of the Civil War, in 1863, established the annual celebration of Thanksgiving.

.lincoln.jpg.. Abraham Lincoln was a man who learned to face discouragement and move beyond it. Did you know that it was Abraham Lincoln who, in the midst of the Civil War, in 1863, established the annual celebration of Thanksgiving?

Lincoln had learned how important it is to stop and thank God in the midst of great difficulties.

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that [the gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow citizens . . . to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

In 1789, The First American President, George Washington acknowledged the providence of Almighty God and gave thanks for God’s Blessings and favor.

washington.jpg“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted’ for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

(signed) G. Washington

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Commonly referred to by his initials JFK, He was the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963.

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” John Fitzgerald Kennedy

 

Samuel Adams – Thanksgiving Proclamation

samuel_adams.jpg“That all the People may with united Hearts on that Day express a just Sense of His unmerited Favors:
–Particularly in that it hath pleased Him, by His over ruling Providence to support us in a just and necessary War for the Defense of our Rights and Liberties;
…by defeating the Councils and evil Designs of our Enemies, and giving us Victory over their Troops
–and by the Continuance of that Union among these States, which by his Blessing, will be their future Strength & Glory.”

Samuel Adams on behalf of the Continental Congress, November 3, 1778, calling for a day of Thanksgiving during the Revolutionary War of the future “United States of America”

 

William Bradford on Thanksgiving

William Bradford was governor of the Plymouth colony at the first American thanksgiving in 1621.

He wrote the following in “Of Plimoth Plantation”

“They begane now to gather in ye small harvest they had, and to fitte up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health & strenght, and had all things in good plenty; fFor as some were thus imployed in affairs abroad, others were excersised in fishing, aboute codd, & bass, & other fish, of which yey tooke good store, of which every family had their portion. All ye somer ther was no want. And now begane to come in store of foule, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besids water foule, ther was great store of wild Turkies, of which they tooke many, besids venison, &c. Besids, they had about a peck a meale a weeke to a person, or now since harvest, Indean corn to yt proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largly of their plenty hear to their freinds in England, which were not fained, but true reports.”

Famous American Thanksgiving Quotes – Quotes from Famous Americans on Thanksgiving

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