Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Give Thanks

Abraham Lincoln was our first President to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday. He probably set the observance in late November so as to correlate the holiday with the date of the Mayflower's anchoring (November 21, 1620, by the modern Gregorian calendar but November 11, 1620, by the Julian calendar used by the Pilgrims).

Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation reads as follows:
The year that is drawing towards 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 cannot 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 unequalled 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 theatre of military conflict; while that theatre 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 defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had 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 heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; 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 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 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 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, 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 third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln
In keeping with the words of President Lincoln, let us meditate upon our blessings, which are too numerous to count.

May this Thanksgiving be a special time for each and every one of you!

48 Comments:

At 11/21/2006 6:48 PM, Blogger The Merry Widow said...

Amen!

tmw

 
At 11/21/2006 9:30 PM, Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Great post! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

 
At 11/21/2006 9:47 PM, Anonymous Mustang said...

Amen, AOW. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Semper Fi

 
At 11/21/2006 10:18 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

Happy Thanksgiving AOW!..heres to your health and continued happines!!!>>:)

 
At 11/21/2006 10:37 PM, Blogger nanc said...

in all things give thanks at all times!

a great and blessed thanksgiving to mr. and mrs. aow.

thank you.

 
At 11/21/2006 10:41 PM, Blogger Brooke said...

Amen, AOW...Lincoln's words are a blessing, and his eloquence cannot be topped.

Thank you!

 
At 11/22/2006 1:20 AM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. That is a beautiful picture. God bless.

 
At 11/22/2006 1:37 AM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

Mom's cooking up around 5 pounds of fried okra. I wonder what she's cooking for everyone else.

Have a good Thanksgiving Day, AOW!

 
At 11/22/2006 5:56 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

This year, we're going to a neighbor's house for Thanksgiving. And I'm not doing a lick of work for the big feast--a first! My body says, "You need to pamper yourself." So I will!

 
At 11/22/2006 6:28 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Brooke,
Abraham Lincoln knew Who to thank, even in the midst of one of America's most turbulent times.

 
At 11/22/2006 7:41 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mustang,
Happy Thanksgiving to my first and best cyberfriend!

 
At 11/22/2006 9:10 AM, Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

It's off to mom in law's tomorrow for dinner - this year is special - she's having dinner at 5pm (better than years before having it at 1pm) so THIS means I get to watch my Honolulu Blue & Silver boys whoop butt against the Miami Dolphins...AT MY OWN HOUSE!

GO LIONS!!!!!

 
At 11/22/2006 9:16 AM, Blogger American Crusader said...

Thanksgiving has always been the 'family' holiday. This is the time to remember loved ones who are still in our lives and those that have passed on.
Sounds like Steve and I will be doing the same thing(going to the in-laws) except I'll be watching the Miami Dolphins kick silver and blue all over the field.
Happy Thanksgiving day AOW..

 
At 11/22/2006 9:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember to serve poultry to your guests. Our fine feathered friend is probably nostaligic over his friends in Cuba who have no meat, poultry or fresh veggies.

Lets remember the people who have been held back by the theft of social engineers and faux class struggle.

 
At 11/22/2006 11:28 AM, Blogger Farmer John said...

Some historical trivia....

Lincoln made Thanksgiving a national holiday, but he was not the first to issue Thanksgiving Proclamations. In fact, John Adam's said the following (which confirms for me the fact that secular humanism and Federalism are merely "proxy" religions)

The National Fast, recommended by me turned me out of office. It was connected with the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church, which I had no concern in. That assembly has allarmed and alienated Quakers, Anabaptists, Mennonists, Moravians, Swedenborgians, Methodists, Catholicks, protestant Episcopalians, Arians, Socinians, Armenians, & & &, Atheists and Deists might be added. A general Suspicon prevailed that the Presbyterian Church was ambitious and aimed at an Establishment of a National Church. I was represented as a Presbyterian and at the head of this political and ecclesiastical Project. The secret whisper ran through them...

“Let us have Jefferson, Madison, Burr, any body, whether they be Philosophers, Deists, or even Atheists, rather than a Presbyterian President.”

This principle is at the bottom of the unpopularity of national Fasts and Thanksgivings. Nothing is more dreaded than the National Government meddling with Religion.

 
At 11/22/2006 11:33 AM, Blogger Farmer John said...

....proclamations of XXX History Month and National Pork Sausage Day are now de rigueur in Congress.

 
At 11/22/2006 11:38 AM, Blogger Elmer's Brother said...

Happy Thanksgiving AOW.

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to his name: He forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!

We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!
Amen
-Traditional Thanksgiving Hymn
(A translation by Theodore Baker: 1851-1934)

1 Chronicles 29:11-13 (KJV)

"Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power
and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom;
you are exalted as head over all.

Wealth and honor come from you;
you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.

Now, our God, we give you thanks,
and praise your glorious name."

 
At 11/22/2006 11:41 AM, Blogger Farmer John said...

Here's a list... Funny, Thanksgiving isn't even on it.

 
At 11/22/2006 11:50 AM, Blogger Farmer John said...

...but perhaps it's better to give thanks than complain as I have done, for those who have given us that right to complain.

The 1st Presidential Proclamation issued by George Washington. 1789...

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.

 
At 11/22/2006 12:29 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason left this link on an earlier posting here. Excerpt:

Pilgrims' Progress, or the Story of Thanksgiving: Caroline Baum

...One of the traditions the Pilgrims had brought with them from England was a practice known as ``farming in common.'' Everything they produced was put into a common pool, and the harvest was rationed among them according to need.

They had thought ``that the taking away of property, and bringing in community into a common wealth, would make them happy and flourishing,'' Bradford recounts.

They were wrong....

After the Pilgrims had endured near-starvation for three winters, Bradford decided to experiment when it came time to plant in the spring of 1623. He set aside a plot of land for each family, that ``they should set corne every man for his owne particular, and in that regard trust to themselves.''

The results were nothing short of miraculous....

Given appropriate incentives, the Pilgrims produced and enjoyed a bountiful harvest in the fall of 1623 and set aside ``a day of thanksgiving'' to thank God for their good fortune.

``Any generall wante or famine hath not been amongst them since to this day,'' Bradford writes in an entry from 1647, the last year covered by his History.

With the benefit of hindsight, we know that the Pilgrim's good fortune was not a matter of luck. In 1623, they were responding to the same incentives that have been adopted almost universally four centuries later.

 
At 11/22/2006 12:32 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

EB,
Thank you for posting the words to "We Gather Together." It's one of my favorite hymns.

I love this part:

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;


The victory is His. The victory has always been His!

 
At 11/22/2006 12:50 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Farmer,
Here's a list... Funny, Thanksgiving isn't even on it.

Because the origins of Thanksgiving are not human-centered.

Isn't George Washington's proclamation beautiful? I almost posted it instead of Lincoln's proclamation, but I opted for Lincoln's because we are at war.

Just one excerpt from Washington's proclamation, which throughout acknowledges God's providence in the affairs of men:

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...

From GWB's Thanksgiving "Proclamation":

...At this time of great promise for America, we are grateful for the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution and defended by our Armed Forces throughout the generations. Today, many of these courageous men and women are securing our peace in places far from home, and we pay tribute to them and to their families for their service, sacrifice, and strength. We also honor the families of the fallen and lift them up in our prayers.

Our citizens are privileged to live in the world's freest country, where the hope of the American dream is within the reach of every person. Americans share a desire to answer the universal call to serve something greater than ourselves, and we see this spirit every day in the millions of volunteers throughout our country who bring hope and healing to those in need. On this Thanksgiving Day, and throughout the year, let us show our gratitude for the blessings of freedom, family, and faith, and may God continue to bless America....


You're right that we should be grateful for the right to complain:

perhaps it's better to give thanks than complain as I have done, for those who have given us that right to complain.

And I do a fair amount of complaining. As you already know.

 
At 11/22/2006 12:55 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Beak,
Remember to serve poultry to your guests. Our fine feathered friend is probably nostaligic over his friends in Cuba who have no meat, poultry or fresh veggies.

Actually, Duck often comes up in discussions with my students, my friends, and my family. But my neighbors, with whom we're celebrating this year, don't follow the blogs. So Duck might not, uh, get served up at the table this year.

 
At 11/22/2006 1:01 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Steve,
So, you get to enjoy watching football tomorrow? Good! You'll enjoy tomorrow even more than in other years. And that's something else to be thankful for!

 
At 11/22/2006 1:08 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Crusader,
Thanksgiving has always been the 'family' holiday. This is the time to remember loved ones who are still in our lives and those that have passed on.

This year, the usual family member to host the feast isn't feeling well. We decided not to burden her and will be having dinner with a neighbor--a neighbor who is "like family."

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Crusader!

 
At 11/22/2006 1:09 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Monica R,
Here's hoping you don't work yourself too hard this Thanksgiving. I saw at your site that you're not feeling your best.

 
At 11/22/2006 1:11 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mr. Beamish,
Mom's cooking up around 5 pounds of fried okra. I wonder what she's cooking for everyone else.

Get your fill of that okra. Good stuff!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Mr. Beamish. And whichever team you're rooting for--I hope they win!

 
At 11/22/2006 1:48 PM, Blogger kevin said...

I linked this one.

 
At 11/22/2006 2:31 PM, Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Oh, and did you know you helped me get my 50,000

 
At 11/22/2006 2:37 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Jason,

Oh, and did you know you helped me get my 50,000


Happy to do my part! ;)

Congrutulations!

 
At 11/22/2006 3:33 PM, Blogger Farmer John said...

Have a great Thanksgiving, AoW! And thanks for the link to this year's Proclamation!

Warmest Regards
-FJ

 
At 11/22/2006 3:54 PM, Blogger gandalf said...

I hope you all have a great thanksgiving

 
At 11/22/2006 4:11 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

I don't know if one can overdose and die on fried okra, but I'm sure as heck gonna try.

What a way to go!

 
At 11/22/2006 5:40 PM, Blogger Steve Harkonnen said...

Fried okra definitely rules. I wish I could have it, but my wife is very allergic to okra, so that's out.

American Crusader said:

"...except I'll be watching the Miami Dolphins kick silver and blue all over the field."

Oh, we'll see about that, but then again, I might wake up and realize the truth.

I need to go and see if Beamish has posted his predictions for tomorrow's games!

 
At 11/22/2006 5:41 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Mr. Beamish,
You might overdose, but you can sleep it off. ;)

Farmer,
Thank you! I wrote three different postings for Thanksgiving, but this one was THE one. I knew so as soon as I had finished it.

Have a good Thanksgiving! Gluttony, this once, will be all right, I think.

 
At 11/22/2006 5:42 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Gandalf,
Apologies for my not having visited your site lately. I'll be stopping by this evening (EDT).

Thank you for the warm wishes for this American holiday.

 
At 11/22/2006 5:43 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Steve,
Fried okra definitely rules.

Rolled in cornmeal.

 
At 11/22/2006 7:26 PM, Blogger FLORIAN said...

Amen AOW. I'm of the opinion that everyday should be a day of Thanksgiving--we have so much to thank Him for.

Now as for my meal tomorrow---it'll be great: Broccoli casarole, turkey, ham, potatoes and Sam Adams beer!!!!!!!!!!!! I dread the next week when I'll be on that treadmill running it off....ouch

 
At 11/22/2006 7:49 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Florian,
Enjoy! You can work it off later.
!

 
At 11/22/2006 9:47 PM, Blogger cube said...

We are truly blessed! Thanks for reminding me of the history which I had forgotten because it's been almost 78 years since I took it in school ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving and may we have many, many years to be thankful!

 
At 11/22/2006 11:34 PM, Blogger OSONSFORLIBERTY said...

I WISH ALL MY AMERICAN FRIENDS AND ALLIES A WONDERFUL THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND I,M THANKFUL WE ARE FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!!!!!!!!!!!! GOD BLESS YOUR GREAT COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!!! HAVE A GOOD UN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
At 11/22/2006 11:48 PM, Blogger Obob said...

good turkey

 
At 11/23/2006 12:44 AM, Blogger The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Happy Thanksgiving!

 
At 11/23/2006 2:24 AM, Blogger Mike's America said...

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

That Pilgrim's Progress is an important lesson. Too bad it's one more people don't learn.

 
At 11/23/2006 12:56 PM, Blogger benning said...

Happy Thanksgiving, AOW! Wonderful post and reminder!

 
At 11/23/2006 5:32 PM, Blogger Old Soldier said...

Happy Thanksgiving, AOW. I hope your time with your family has been most enjoyable. God bless.

 
At 11/24/2006 1:24 AM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

I managed to smuggle out around a pound of fried okra from the leftovers at my parents' house.

It almost got ugly. I can overlook the fact that my cousin exhales carbon dioxide that might be converted by a tree into oxygen for terrorists to breathe, because he's my cousin. But he got in my way in the serving line, and joked about blocking me from the fried okra. At least I think that's what he was starting to say - my hand grabbed him in the larynx when I heard "you can't have any fried oak..." - sorry, it's instinct.

 
At 11/24/2006 9:26 AM, Blogger Brooke said...

I had a heap of Grandma's fried potatos, and they were gooooood. And some cooked broccoli, which is nothing like the kind you usually get. Words don't do it justice... NOBODY cooks like Grandma!

Happy Thanksgiving, AOW!

 

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