Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Washington’s first Thanksgiving proclamation

In 1789, President George Washington’s issued the following Thanksgiving 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…”

Washington knew that he (and we, the people of this nation) needed to express our thanks to someone for all the gifts this land and form of government have provided.

Washington expressed his thanks to his God. He knew this country’s founding was a gift to be thankful for and had to have come from someone. He could have listed hundreds of people who sacrificed and even died to make America a reality but ultimately, he knew in his heart, to be thankful to his God.

What I like best about the holiday season in America is the reflective mood it puts me in.

It seems to affect others that way also, based on the comments I hear in person, on tv or read on the internet. I note comments like “I’m thankful for my freedom. Or, “I’m thankful for my family.

While gratitude for things is proper, it is not possible to be thankful for something without being thankful to someone for whatever it is that you are grateful for.

Are you thankful for your freedoms? Thank those that struggled to secure those freedoms. Sometimes it was a soldier, sometimes a politician that sacrificed to stand firm on a law enshrining freedoms. Or sometimes it was an ordinary citizen refusing to move from a bus seat or lunch counter.

Are you thankful for having a family?  Thank your family. Being a member of a family isn’t always easy.  Even if you don’t get along with your family all the time, thank them for being your family.

Thankful for a roof over your head? Thank those that learned to build a house.

Similar to taking time to count your blessings, taking time to give thanks to those that have provided so much for you, even if you’ve never met them, even if, on occasion, you don’t want to have anything to do with them can bring life back into perspective when things don’t always seem great.

Take time to give thanks to someone for all the blessings in your life.

Don Williams
Don Williams
Don Williams serves as publisher and editor of The Lincoln City Homepage.


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