Our First Presidents Proclamation on Giving Thanks
All throughout my school years, I was taught that it was the Pilgrims, celebrating their first harvest, that established the First Thanksgiving. You can imagine my surprise, when I did a bit of research and found out that it isn’t necessarily the true origins of our Thursday Thanksgiving Day.
A new country, hollowed out by the blood and death of patriots, that would NOT stand for the tyranny, was celebrating its newly found freedom. In April 30, 1789, The first duly elected President of the United States of America, was sworn in by Robert R. Livingston, the Chancellor of New York. A cutting figure at 6’3” tall, it is said that Washington looked more at
home on a battlefield than in a political setting. However, he took the helm of the foundling United States and history was made.
In October, 1789 President Washington issued his Thanksgiving proclamation, designating for “the people of the United States a day of public thanks-giving” to be held “Thursday the 26th day of November”. This day, this celebration was the first officially recognized day of thanks, which has become a national holiday.
Presidents after Washington did not necessarily keep up this tradition, however, until the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln,
who was inspired by Washingtons proclamation, issued his own Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863. Interestingly President Lincoln issued his proclamation on exactly the same day, October 3, 1863, and designated the same Thanksgiving Day.
General George Washington felt he understood the importance of giving thanks during the Revolutionary War. The General would reward his troops after successful battles with special thanksgiving meals. He also knew the benefit of the Continental Congress to order days of thanks in recognition of military victories. Our Country being founded on a Christian principle and giving thanks, not just to the soldiers, but to God for his divine mercy.
Thanksgiving wasn’t made an officially legal holiday until 1941 when the US Congress named the fourth Thursday in November. Which is how we celebrate Thanksgiving Day currently. The following was the first Thanksgiving Prayer in our newly established country
While it is fact that a day of thanks has been celebrated religiously for centuries, the true American Thanksgiving Celebration can certainly be attributed to George Washington.
In our world of extremes and people hating others for their beliefs, I think a national day of giving Thanks for being alive in this amazing country should be celebrated and embraced by all. Whomever you give thanks, to whomever you worship, may this Thanksgiving find you humbled and grateful for the bounty you experience.
Wishing very Happy Thanksgiving from one blessed American Patriot to