It's personally sad to contemplate, but there are some among us who would eliminate Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday, claiming that America is now such a multi-cultural nation that we should not force our old fashioned value structure on others. To that I say hogwash, since the historical and cultural background of America is such a major part of what America is. Millions have come to these shores seeking to become Americans, recipients of the American Spirit as well, and part of that means adopting her heart and soul as their own as well.
For the few who want to spoil that, the many will not change. Those who disagree may, of course, keep their views to themselves in a free society but we must never allow them to alter the tradition that the overwhelming majority of honor in recognizing the central nature of our Creator to our nation and the blessings that He has so graciously given us. Thanksgiving is a special time when all good Americans gather together to thank the Lord for the many blessings that we all have and it's appropriate that we do so.
If you have any doubt about the direction that our Founders set for America, read the Declaration of Independence which clearly states our reliance on The Creator and his grant of inalienable rights which government does not have the authority to remove. And one of the best examples of America's need to thank God for all that He has given us while also acknowledging our commitment to Him as a people is the 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation from our first President, George Washington. Washington appreciated the sacrifice that so many made under his leadership as a General in harsh conditions to earn our freedom from British oppression. And He knew without the grace of God that America would have never gained her independence.
So, as we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving Day today and all that it represents and means, Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 is offered in its entirety below. Read it, ponder it and wonder at its wisdom and value for as a people graced by God we are truly blessed. A suggestion might be reading it as part of your celebration since so many of us are so poorly educated today about our historical foundation. Make no mistake about it; this land we love was a creation of God.
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 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 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.
God bless America as we gather together for this great holiday!