Thank George Washington for Thanksgiving.

It wasn’t the pilgrims that gave us our modern understanding of Thanksgiving. Nor was it Lincoln’s Thanksgiving declaration during the Civil War. It was our first president, George Washington, who proclaimed, from New York City on October 3, 1789 our first Thanksgiving – a day set aside to thank God for the blessings of the young nation. Below I have culled the entire address from the primary sources of Mount Vernon. If you’ve never read it, it’s worth a read. It’s a shame that our school kids don’t read this proclamation each year.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

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 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 which we experienced 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 enabled 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 hath 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 shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease 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 third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go: Washington

Happy Thanksgiving from Abraham Lincoln

On this Thanksgiving, it is, perhaps, appropriate to go back to Abraham Lincoln’s words from his Thankgiving Proclamation to give us all some perspective. For Lincoln, Thanksgiving was about acknowledging the mercies of God in the midst of the great civil war the country was embroiled in. And here, in 2016, we may not be physically at war with each other, but we are in the middle of a great ideological struggle which has severely divided our nation in two. While debates of philosophy and policy are important, they are not on Thanksgiving Day. May we all pause and reflect on Lincoln’s wise words.

 

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, 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. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

America Got This One Right

America has its faults – as does every country run by human beings.

But the collective they got it right when they established Thanksgiving as a national holiday.

Even as retailers push each year to pervert the intent and reach of the holiday, there is something extremely satisfying about setting aside a day a year to count one’s blessings.

For farmers its the harvest.

For the businessman or businesswoman the bounty of another year.

For the person of faith its the overwhelming thankfulness for blessings, family, grace, and daily breath which is guaranteed only moment by moment.

Even in the midst of trials, troubles, pain, riots, bickering politicians, the collective we have much to be thankful for.

May our bountiful Thanksgiving table make us remember what is truly important. May we appreciate the blessing, but remember those who need a tangible touch this holiday season. May we use our Black Friday shopping for the benefit of others. May we sit and reflect on the many blessings – and as the old hymn says – may we count every one of them.

Many of the trials, pains, and turmoil of this day would end stop in their tracks if each of us would really understand how much we have to be thankful for.

I hope everyone had a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving Day as we usher in the most wonderful time of the year.

As Thankful as an Author

As a person, a father, a husband – I have so much to be thankful for. If I never sell another book in my entire life it wouldn’t affect my happiness or life fulfillment.

But as I approach my first Thanksgiving as an indie author, this writer also has a lot to be thankful for.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity and time to write.

I’ve been inspired with endless ideas that keep springing to life at the oddest of moments.

I’ve had wonderful opportunities to see my dramatic works performed and had scores of readers encourage me with their gracious words of affirmation.

I am so thankful to the reviewers who have agreed to review my works, to the websites who happily agreed to promote me. I am grateful for the many resources available to indie authors these days. It’s truly amazing.

But most of all I’m thankful for my slowly building readership. Thank you for sharing my books with others. Thanks for stopping by my blog or Facebook page. Thank you for your kind words and even your constructive criticism. It all means so much.

I wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.

God bless!