An illustration of the first Thanksgiving
THE FIRST THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION - JUNE 20, 1676
"The Holy God having by a long and Continual Series of his Afflictive dispensations
in and by the present Warr with the Heathen Natives of this land, written and
brought to pass bitter things against his own Covenant people in this wilderness,
yet so that we evidently discern that in the midst of his judgements he hath
remembered mercy, having remembered his Footstool in the day of his sore displeasure
against us for our sins, with many singular Intimations of his Fatherly Compassion,
and regard; reserving many of our Towns from Desolation Threatened, and attempted
by the Enemy, and giving us especially of late with many of our Confederates
many signal Advantages against them, without such Disadvantage to ourselves
as formerly we have been sensible of, if it be the Lord's mercy that we are
not consumed, It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies
are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take
notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found
an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well
as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:
The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant
June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness
and Favour, many Particulars of which mercy might be Instanced, but we doubt
not those who are sensible of God's Afflictions, have been as diligent to espy
him returning to us; and that the Lord may behold us as a People offering Praise
and thereby glorifying Him; the Council doth commend it to the Respective Ministers,
Elders and people of this Jurisdiction; Solemnly and seriously to keep the same
Beseeching that being perswaded by the mercies of God we may all, even this
whole people offer up our bodies and soulds as a living and acceptable Service
unto God by Jesus Christ."
Thanksgiving Day Proclamation by President of the United
States of America
Nearly half a century ago, President Dwight Eisenhower proclaimed Thanksgiving
as a time when Americans should celebrate "the plentiful yield of our soil .
. . the beauty of our land . . . the preservation of those ideals of liberty
and justice that form the basis of our national life, and the hope of international
peace." Now, in the painful aftermath of the September 11 attacks and in the
midst of our resolute war on terrorism, President Eisenhower's hopeful words
point us to our collective obligation to defend the enduring principles of freedom
that form the foundation of our Republic.
During these extraordinary times, we find particular assurance from our Thanksgiving
tradition, which reminds us that we, as a people and individually, always have
reason to hope and trust in God, despite great adversity. In 1621 in New England,
the Pilgrims gave thanks to God, in whom they placed their hope, even though
a bitter winter had taken many of their brethren. In the winter of 1777, General
George Washington and his army, having just suffered great misfortune, stopped
near Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, to give thanks to God. And there, in the throes
of great difficulty, they found the hope they needed to persevere. That hope
in freedom eventually inspired them to victory.
In 1789, President Washington, recollecting the countless blessings for which
our new Nation should give thanks, declared the first National Day of Thanksgiving.
And decades later, with the Nation embroiled in a bloody civil war, President
Abraham Lincoln revived what is now an annual tradition of issuing a presidential
proclamation of Thanksgiving. President Lincoln asked God 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."
President George W.Bush on Thanksgiving
As we recover from the terrible tragedies of September 11,
Americans of every belief and heritage give thanks to God for the many blessings
we enjoy as a free, faithful, and fair-minded land. Let us particularly give
thanks for the self-less sacrifices of those who responded in service to others
after the terrorist attacks, setting aside their own safety as they reached
out to help their neighbors. Let us also give thanks for our leaders at every
level who have planned and coordinated the myriad of responses needed to address
this unprecedented national crisis. And let us give thanks for the millions
of people of faith who have opened their hearts to those in need with love and
prayer, bringing us a deeper unity and stronger resolve.
In thankfulness and humility, we acknowledge, especially now, our dependence
on One greater than ourselves. On this day of Thanksgiving, let our thanksgiving
be revealed in the compassionate support we render to our fellow citizens who
are grieving unimaginable loss; and let us reach out with care to those in need
of food, shelter, and words of hope. May Almighty God, who is our refuge and
our strength in this time of trouble, watch over our homeland, protect us, and
grant us patience, resolve, and wisdom in all that is to come.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America,
by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the
United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 22, 2001, as a National
Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage Americans to assemble in their homes, places
of worship, or community centers to reinforce ties of family and community,
express our profound thanks for the many blessings we enjoy, and reach out in
true gratitude and friendship to our friends around the world.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of November,
in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United
States of America the two hundred and twenty-sixth.
GEORGE W. BUSH