Monica E. Smith

Monica E. Smith

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

We all know the story of the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving. After their first harvest, the colonists of the Plymouth Plantation held a celebration with food and feasting in the fall of 1621. There are many varied and contradictory versions of this story. But while there were other smaller "thanksgiving"/harvest festivities since this event, well before George Washington, it was Washington's original proclamation signed by him on October 3, 1789 which marked the day, " Thursday, November 26 as "A Day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer", and began the official reason for Thanksgiving Day, later to be made a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863.

At that time, Lincoln issued a proclamation which called for the observance of the fourth Tuesday of November as the national holiday. It was president Franklin D. Roosevelt who moved the holiday to the third Thursday of NovemberIN ORDER TO EXTEND THE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING SEASON IN AN EFFORT TO BOOST THE ECONOMY. (I guess politicians will always be politicians; they have a knack for removing significance from and cheapening even the sacred, all in the name of money ). In an effort to quell the storm of protests which arose from this action, Roosevelt again changed Thanksgiving in 1941 to the fourth Thursday in November, where it remains to this day.

Today I wish all of you a most content and happy celebration with family and friends, in the spirit so proclaimed by George Washington. May we "unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best." And may we be for God first and foremost, as He is for us. For "IF GOD BE FOR US WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?"--Romans 8:31

George Washington's 1789 Thanksgiving 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 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 shown 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.