Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 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 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 favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, 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 supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; 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 third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

A Thanksgiving Proclamation

by President A. Lincoln

1863

“The year that is drawing toward 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 can not 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 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 ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our 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 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 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 imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, 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 3d day of October, A.D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

 

THANKSGIVING DAY, 1984

Proclamation 5269. October 19, 1984

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A PROCLAMATION

As we remember the faith and values that made America great, we should recall that our tradition of Thanksgiving is older than our Nation itself. Indeed, the native American Thanksgiving antedated those of the new Americans. In the words of the eloquent Seneca tradition of the Iroquois, "…give it your thought, that with one mind we may now give thanks to Him our Creator."

From the first Pilgrim observance in 1621, to the nine years before and during the American Revolution when the Continental Congress declared days of Fast and Prayer and days of Thanksgiving, we have turned to Almighty God to express our gratitude for the bounty and good fortune we enjoy as individuals and as a nation. America truly has been blessed.

This year we can be especially thankful that real gratitude to God is inscribed, not in proclamations of government, but in the hearts of all our people who come from every race, culture, and creed on the face of the Earth. And as we pause to give thanks for our many gifts, let us be tempered by humility and by compassion for those in need, and let us reaffirm through prayer and action our determination to share our bounty with those less fortunate.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, in the spirit and tradition of the Iroquois, the Pilgrims, the Continental Congress, and past Presidents, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 22, 9184, as a day of National Thanksgiving. I call upon every citizen of this great Nation to gather together in homes and places of worship to celebrate, in the
words of 1784, "with grateful hearts … the mercies and praises of their all Bountiful Creator…"

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this nineteenth day of October,in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and ninth.

 

 

President Barack Obama’s Thanksgiving Proclamation 2012

On Thanksgiving Day, Americans gather with family, partners and friends to recount the benefits lavished upon us this past year.

This day is a time to take stock of what we have gained after a long struggle of securing rights to share in the bounty that this nation has produced.

Thanks to our hard fought efforts, we are grateful that we are beginning to see a better distribution of resources that hold the promise of enriching our lives.

As we see needs being met by a multitude of re-distributive programs take effect, we are reminded of the indelible spirit of compassion and fairness that has distinguished our Nation since its earliest days.

When the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony gave thanks for a bountiful harvest nearly four centuries ago, they sat down to enjoy the fruits of the labor of the Wampanoag tribe — a people who knew that community means to share among everyone.

We look to the generosity of the natives now for inspiration that America can still be great if we have the courage to spread wealth among all Americans.

We know that it was only a few years later that these peaceful, earth-friendly natives had to face exploitation of white immigrants who took their land and left many dead. But, we can still learn from their example.

When President George Washington marked our democracy’s first Thanksgiving, he evoked the sentiment that it is always right that those who possess stockpiles of goods should be willing to spread their wealth among the needy, feed the hungry and satisfy inalienable desires for equality.

And when our Nation was torn by civil war, President Abraham Lincoln also voiced concern that in his wisdom every American has a birth right to decent health care, affordable housing and government supplemented food aide when needed.

Those expressions of fairness still echo as reminders for us today, that in spite of the memory of the denial of human rights to Native Americans, or the strife caused by a capitalist system our forebears established to attain class privileges, we still might move forward to create a fairer society.

As we reflect on our heritage, let us also give thanks to those who honor it by giving back.

This Thanksgiving, thousands of campaign workers, unionists, community organizers and human rights activists will sit down to enjoy a hot meal and a place to stay.

We are grateful that there are still some in our land who fight to make sure that everybody’s got a fair shot.

They remind us of a rock solid truth that bind us together on this holiday of reflection: for each according to his or her need. From each according to his or her ability!

This thanksgiving we are witnessing our nation being transformed into a place we can all take pride in.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 22, 2012, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.

I encourage the people of the United States to join together — whether in our homes, union halls, bath houses, community centers, family planning clinics, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — and thanks each other for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the common era two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.