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Thanksgiving Procolamation  

This outstanding letter was forwarded to me and I think it's so important that I'm printing it here for all of you and also offering it as a download at the bottom of the post where my freebies always live. (The formatting is messed up and I can't seem to fix it, sorry.) God bless you this Thanksgiving:

"I sat down at the computer to write my yearly short poem for Thanksgiving and would end it with an appropriate scripture, but this year as you can see you are getting my message on your email. Why, because the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving should perhaps be taken more seriously as the situation in the world is so tenuous. I also wanted to stress that choosing a day to thank God for His blessings seems so inadequate and sometimes insincere. I was reading the history of Thanksgiving in the Federalist Digest and the presidential proclamations of Washington, Lincoln and others and was moved to remind and perhaps enlighten some who have forgotten where and why Thanksgiving Day was started. To those who believe in the separation of church and state this should put your minds at rest or change uninformed views to the truth of our forefather’s declarations, writings and intentions.

The first Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued by the revolutionary Continental Congress on November 1, 1777. Authored by Samuel Adams, it was one sentence of 360 words, which read in part: Forasmuch as it is the indispensable duty of all men to adore the superintending providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with gratitude their obligation to Him for benefits received…together with penitent confession of their sins, whereby they had forfeited every favor; and their humble and earnest supplications that it may please God through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to set apart Thursday the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feeling of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor…acknowledging with gratitude their obligations to Him for benefits received…to prosper the means of religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth ‘in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

Then in Congressional Record, September 25, 1789

“Mr. Boudinot (who was the President of Congress during the American Revolution) said he could not think of letting the congressional session pass over without offering an opportunity to all the citizens of the United States of joining with one voice in returning to Almighty God their sincere thanks for the many blessings He had poured down upon them. This then was passed on to George Washington to sign…

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 single 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 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 has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplication 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 3rd day of October, 1789

George Washington

Then from the hand of Abraham Lincoln during internal strife in the United States this proclamation.

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful years 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 can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart, which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence…..

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled 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 theater of military conflict, while that theater 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 defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the shop; the ax 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 theretofore.

Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, 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 ascriptions justly due 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, tranquility, and union.

Abraham Lincoln (October 3, 1863, passed by an Act of Congress.)

Then Theodore Roosevelt wrote: “No people on earth have more cause to be thankful than ours, and this is said reverently, in no spirit of boastfulness in our own strength, but with the gratitude to the Giver of good who has blessed us.”

I dare say, our young Nation had men who knew where our blessings came from and who bestowed them. They were not afraid of offending and openly proclaimed it for all to hear and strongly suggested to America’s citizens that they should reverently observe a special day of Thanksgiving to their Creator.

As you see “God” taken, or soon taken, from our hallowed buildings, our schools, court houses, national anthems and pledges, graduation speeches, currency and perhaps someday pulpits in our churches, remember how thankful our forefathers were for the freedom to have God among us and his blessings upon us.

As you sit with family and friends before a bountiful table, let these humble words from a friend come to mind. The God who once blessed our Thankful Nation, will also judge a thankless one.

With deepest wishes for a blessed Day of Thanksgiving for you and all Americans. Please say a prayer for our valiant military who serve here and in distant lands, making sure we enjoy this God Given Country.

Proud and Very Thankful American,

Jane Canaday"


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