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On Giving Thanks

On Giving Thanks

Wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving

There are countless reasons it’s great to be an American. That we have an entire national holiday devoted to being thankful is incredibly special.

We are incredibly fortunate to live in a country created by men who passed on to us a legacy of individual liberty and the gumption to stand firm against tyranny.

This time every year, I enjoy reading through the earliest Thanksgiving proclamations. They speak not only to the priorities of our founders, but the foundations of our cultural heritage.

One of my favorites is George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation from 1789.

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

However you celebrate today, may you enjoy today not just as a day of football, turkey, naps, and pie, but may you enjoy the abundance of blessings we’re so fortunate to receive by virtue of being American. May your gratitude be an ongoing action, not merely a fleeting thought.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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Comments

And let’s pray most of those things we’re thankful for are still around when our kids and grandkids grow up.

    Ragspierre in reply to Bill Quick. | November 27, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    And, after we push back from the table and praying, let’s get to work to assure they have those things, and maybe even BETTER…!!!

This portion of the Proclamation should be read each morning and evening to all elected and appointed public officials:

“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 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, discretely and faithfully executed and obeyed–. . . .”

That’s odd – George didn’t seem to be aware of the separation of Church and State when he gave this beautiful prayer. I wonder if he was apprehensive about what people might say afterwards?
Happy Thanksgiving Kemberlee and thanks for the reminder of why we celebrate this day.

    Walker Evans in reply to gasper. | November 27, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    What separation of church and state? The only mention of government and religion in the Constitution is in the First Amendment, and that only forbids the government from establishing an official religion.

    Jefferson’s personal, private letter to the Elders of the Danbury Church has been badly misconstrued, and many (a majority?) now believe that wording is enshrined in the Constitution somewhere; I assure you it is not. For all the trouble it has caused, it would have been better had it not been written. Jefferson would be both amused and appalled if he could see what people now believe the Establishment Clause means!

    Ragspierre in reply to gasper. | November 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    If I remember correctly, in the old part of Richmond, VA, just across from the state house, there stand the supreme court building and a Methodist church. They back onto each other, and share a common wall.

    I thought that a very instructive visual.

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