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Thanksgiving Day 2009

A selection of presidential proclamations.

From Ulysses S. Grant, Proclamation, October 27, 1874:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
We are reminded by the changing seasons that it is time to pause in our daily avocations and offer thanks to Almighty God for the mercies and abundance of the year which is drawing to a close.
The blessings of free government continue to be vouchsafed to us; the earth has responded to the labor of the husbandman; the land has been free from pestilence; internal order is being maintained, and peace with other powers has prevailed.
It is fitting that at stated periods we should cease from our accustomed pursuits and from the turmoil of our daily lives and unite in thankfulness for the blessings of the past and in the cultivation of kindly feelings toward each other.
Now, therefore, recognizing these considerations, I, Ulysses S. Grant, President of the United States, do recommend to all citizens to assemble in their respective places of worship on Thursday, the 26th day of November next, and express their thanks for the mercy and favor of Almighty God, and, laying aside all political contentions and all secular occupations, to observe such day as a day of rest, thanksgiving, and praise.
In witness 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 27th day of October, A.D. 1874, and of the Independence of the United States the ninety-ninth.
U.S. GRANT.
By the President:
HAMILTON FISH, Secretary of State.

From Grover Cleveland, Proclamation, October 25, 1887:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
The goodness and the mercy of God, which have followed the American people during all the days of the past year, claim their grateful recognition and humble acknowledgment. By His omnipotent power He has protected us from war and pestilence and from every national calamity; by His gracious favor the earth has yielded a generous return to the labor of the husbandman, and every path of honest toil has led to comfort and contentment; by His loving kindness the hearts of our people have been replenished with fraternal sentiment and patriotic endeavor, and by His unerring guidance we have been directed in the way of national prosperity.
To the end that we may with one accord testify our gratitude for all these blessings, I, Grover Cleveland, President of the United States, do hereby designate and set apart Thursday, the 24th day of November next, as a day of thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by all the people of the land.
On the day let all secular work and employment be suspended, and let our people assemble in their accustomed places of worship and with prayer and songs of praise give thanks to our Heavenly Father for all that He has done for us, while we humbly implore the forgiveness of our sins and a continuance of His mercy.
Let families and kindred be reunited on that day, and let their hearts, filled with kindly cheer and affectionate reminiscence, be turned in thankfulness to the source of all their pleasures and the giver of all that makes the day glad and joyous.
And in the midst of our worship and our happiness let us remember the poor, the needy, and the unfortunate, and by our gifts of charity and ready benevolence let us increase the number of those who with grateful hearts shall join in our thanksgiving.
In witness whereof I have set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this 25th day of October, A.D. 1887, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twelfth.
By the President.
T.F. BAYARD, Secretary of State.
GROVER CLEVELAND

From Theodore Roosevelt, Proclamation, October 29, 1902:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
According to the yearly custom of our people, it falls upon the President at this season to appoint a day of festival and thanksgiving to God.
Over a century and a quarter has passed since this country took its place among the nations of the earth, and during that time we have had on the whole more to be thankful for than has fallen to the lot of any other people. Generation after generation has grown to manhood and passed away. Each has had to bear its peculiar burdens, each to face its special crises, and each has known years of grim trial, when the country was menaced by malice domestic or foreign levy, when the hand of the Lord was heavy upon it in drouth or flood or pestilence, when in bodily distress and anguish of soul it paid the penalty of folly and a froward heart. Nevertheless, decade by decade, we have struggled onward and upward; we now abundantly enjoy material well-being, and under the favor of the Most High we are striving earnestly to achieve moral and spiritual uplifting. The year that has just closed has been one of peace and of overflowing plenty. Rarely has any people enjoyed greater prosperity than we are now enjoying. For this we render heartfelt and solemn thanks to the Giver of Good; and we seek to praise Him not by words only but by deeds, by the way in which we do our duty to ourselves and to our fellow men.
Now, therefore, I, THEODORE ROOSEVELT, President of the United States, do hereby designate as a day of general thanksgiving Thursday, the twenty-seventh of the coming November, and do recommend that throughout the land the people cease from their ordinary occupations, and in their several homes and places of worship render thanks unto Almighty God for the manifold blessings of the past year.
In witness 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 29th day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and two and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-seventh.
THEODORE ROOSEVELT
By the President:
JOHN HAY,
Secretary of State.

From Woodrow Wilson, Proclamation - Thanksgiving, 1920, November 12, 1920:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
The season again approaches when it behooves us to turn from the distractions and preoccupations of our daily life, that we may contemplate the mercies which have been vouchsafed to us, and render heartfelt and unfeigned thanks unto God for His manifold goodness.
This is an old observance of the American people, deeply imbedded in our thought and habit. The burdens and the stresses of life have their own insistence.
We have abundant cause for thanksgiving. The lesions of the war are rapidly healing. The great army of freemen, which America sent to the defense of Liberty, returning to the grateful embrace of the nation, has resumed the useful pursuits of peace, as simply and as promptly as it rushed to arms in obedience to the country’s call. The equal justice of our laws has received steady vindication in the support of a law-abiding people against various and sinister attacks, which have reflected only the baser agitations of war, now happily passing.
In plenty, security and peace, our virtuous and self-reliant people face the future, its duties and its opportunities. May we have vision to discern our duties; the strength, both of hand and resolve, to discharge them; and the soundness of heart to realize that the truest opportunities are those of service.
In a spirit, then, of devotion and stewardship we should give thanks in our hearts, and dedicate ourselves to the service of God’s merciful and loving purposes to His children.
Wherefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States do hereby designate Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of November next as a day of thanksgiving and prayer, and I call upon my countrymen to cease from their ordinary tasks and avocations upon that day, giving it up to the remembrance of God and His blessings, and their dutiful and grateful acknowledgment.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done in the district of Columbia this twelfth day of November, in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and twenty, and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and forty-fifth.
WOODROW WILSON

From Calvin Coolidge, Proclamation - Thanksgiving, 1924, November 5, 1924:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
We approach that season of the year when it has been the custom for the American people to give thanks for the good fortune which the bounty of Providence, through the generosity of nature, has visited upon them. It is altogether a good custom. It has the sanction of antiquity and the approbation of our religious convictions. In acknowledging the receipt of divine favor, in contemplating the blessings which have been bestowed upon us, we shall reveal the spiritual strength of the nation.
The year has been marked by a continuation of peace whereby our country has entered into a relationship of better understanding with all the other nations of the earth. Ways have been revealed to us by which we could perform very great service through the giving of friendly counsel, through the extension of financial assistance, and through the exercise of a spirit of neighborly kindliness to less favored peoples. We should give thanks for the power which has been given into our keeping, with which we have been able to render these services to the rest of mankind.
At home we have continually had an improving state of the public health. The production of our industries has been large and our harvests have been bountiful. We have been remarkably free from disorder and remarkably successful in all those pursuits which flourish during a state of domestic peace. An abundant prosperity has overspread the land. We shall do well to accept all these favors and bounties with a becoming humility, and dedicate them to the service of the righteous cause of the Giver of all good and perfect gifts. As the nation has prospered let all the people show that they are worthy to prosper by rededicating America to the service of God and man.
Therefore, I, Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States of America, hereby proclaim and fix Thursday, the twenty-seventh day of November, as a day of National thanksgiving. I recommend that the people gather in their places of worship, and at the family altars, and offer up their thanks for the goodness which has been shown to them in such a multitude of ways. Especially I urge them to supplicate the Throne of Grace that they may gather strength from their tribulations, that they may gain humility from their victories, that they may bear without complaining the burdens that shall be placed upon them, and that they may be increasingly worthy in all ways of the blessings that shall come to them.
In witness 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 fifth day of November, in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and twenty-four, and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and forty-ninth.
CALVIN COOLIDGE

From Franklin D. Roosevelt, Proclamation 2571 on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1942:

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord." Across the uncertain ways of space and time our hearts echo those words, for the days are with us again when, at the gathering of the harvest, we solemnly express our dependence upon Almighty God.
The final months of this year, now almost spent, find our Republic and the Nations joined with it waging a battle on many fronts for the preservation of liberty.
In giving thanks for the greatest harvest in the history of our Nation, we who plant and reap can well resolve that in the year to come we will do all in our power to pass that milestone; for by our labors in the fields we can share some part of the sacrifice with our brothers and sons who wear the uniform of the United States.
It is fitting that we recall now the reverent words of George Washington, "Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy Protection," and that every American in his own way lift his voice to heaven.
I recommend that all of us bear in mind this great Psalm:"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
"He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."
Inspired with faith and courage by these words, let us turn again to the work that confronts us in this time of national emergency: in the armed services and the merchant marine; in factories and offices; on farms and in the mines; on highways, railways, and airways; in other places of public service to the Nation; and in our homes.
Now, therefore, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do hereby invite the attention of the people to the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day; and I request that both Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1942, and New Year's Day, January 1, 1943, be observed in prayer, publicly and privately.

From Harry S. Truman, Proclamation 2996 - Thanksgiving Day, 1952, November 8, 1952:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
In the cycle of the seasons, another year marked by the abundance of God’s gifts is nearing its end. At such a time we are wont to turn to Him and with humble hearts to offer thanks as a Nation for His manifold blessings.
We are moved by the inspiring autumnal beauty of our land, which uplifts the hearts of men. We are thankful for the natural and human resources which have enabled us not only to enjoy high material and spiritual standards ourselves but also to help others in the effort to achieve or protect their well-being.
We are grateful for the privileges and rights inherent in our way of life, and in particular for the basic freedoms, which our citizens can enjoy without fear. This year it is especially fitting that we offer a prayer of gratitude for the spirit of unity which binds together all parts of our country and makes us one Nation indivisible.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, HARRY S. TRUMAN, President of the United States of America, conforming to our hallowed custom, and in consonance with the joint resolution of Congress approved on December 26, 1941, do hereby call upon all our people to celebrate Thursday, November 27, 1952, as Thanksgiving Day. On that day let us, with a full awareness of our privileges and a deepening sense of the obligations which they entail, each in his own way, but together as a whole people, give due expression to our thanks, and let us humbly endeavor to follow the paths of righteousness in obedience to the will of Almighty God.
IN WITNESS 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 eighth day of November in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred fifty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-seventh.
HARRY S. TRUMAN

From Dwight D. Eisenhower, Proclamation - Thanksgiving Day, 1960, November 11, 1960:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
WHEREAS it has long been our custom as a people to pause from our labors for one day at the close of the harvest season and give special thanks to Almighty God for the bounty which He has bestowed upon our land; and
WHEREAS again this year we have been blessed with an abundant harvest; and
WHEREAS it is fitting and appropriate at this time of national thanksgiving that we should remember and respond to the needs of those of other lands; and
WHEREAS the Congress of the United States, by a joint resolution approved December 26, 1941 (55 Stat. 862; 5 U.S.C. 87b), has designated the fourth Thursday of November in each year as Thanksgiving Day:
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the aforesaid resolution of Congress, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 1960, as a day of national thanksgiving; and I urge the people of the United States to give grateful thought to the observance of this day.
Furthermore, I call upon our people, while giving thanks for our blessings, to direct their thoughts to the peoples of other lands less fortunate than we. In particular, I urge my fellow Americans to support and assist the efforts which we as a Nation, working individually and in cooperation with other nations, are directing toward the solution of the world-food problem.
Under the Food-for-Peace Program, a distinguished company of voluntary citizens’ groups and religious societies is making heart-warming contributions to this effort. I ask our people to give them continued support.
At the same time, I urge my fellow Americans to assist in the Freedom-from-Hunger Campaign of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Our Government fully supports the objectives of this organization. But success of its campaign requires the active cooperation of generous citizens, and of public and private groups, in our country and around the world.
Let us hope that some day, under a benevolent Providence and through the best use of the world’s God-given resources, each nation will have reason to celebrate its own thanksgiving day.
IN WITNESS 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 11th day of November in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty, of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-fifth.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

From John F. Kennedy, Proclamation 3505 - Thanksgiving Day, 1962, November 7, 1962:

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
Over three centuries ago in Plymouth, on Massachusetts Bay, the Pilgrims established the custom of gathering together each year to express their gratitude to God for the preservation of their community and for the harvests their labors brought forth in the new land. Joining with their neighbors, they shared together and worshipped together in a common giving of thanks. Thanksgiving Day has ever since been part of the fabric which has united Americans with their past, with each other and with the future of all mankind.
It is fitting that we observe this year our own day of thanksgiving. It is fitting that we give our thanks for the safety of our land, for the fertility of our harvests, for the strength of our liberties, for the health of our people. We do so in no spirit of self-righteousness. We recognize that we are the beneficiaries of the toil and devotion of our fathers and that we can pass their legacy on to our children only by equal toil and equal devotion. We recognize too that we live in a world of peril and change--and in so uncertain a time we are all the more grateful for the indestructible gifts of hope and love, which sustain us in adversity and inspire us to labor unceasingly for a more perfect community within this nation and around the earth.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JOHN F. KENNEDY, President of the United States of America, in accord with the joint resolution of Congress, approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, the twenty-second day of November of this year, as a day of national thanksgiving.
I urge that all observe this day with reverence and with humility.
Let us renew the spirit of the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving, lonely in an inscrutable wilderness, facing the dark unknown with a faith borne of their dedication to God and a fortitude drawn from their sense that all men were brothers.
Let us renew that spirit by offering our thanks for uncovenanted mercies, beyond our desert or merit, and by resolving to meet the responsibilities placed upon us.
Let us renew that spirit by sharing the abundance of this day with those less fortunate, in our own land and abroad. Let us renew that spirit by seeking always to establish larger communities of brotherhood.
Let us renew that spirit by preparing our souls for the incertitude's ahead--by being always ready to confront crisis with steadfastness and achievement with grace and modesty.
Let us renew that spirit by concerting our energy and our hope with men and women everywhere that the world may move more rapidly toward the time when Thanksgiving may be a day of universal celebration.
Let us renew that spirit by expressing our acceptance of the limitations of human striving and by affirming our duty to strive nonetheless, as Providence may direct us, toward a better world for all mankind.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this 7th day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-seventh.
JOHN F. KENNEDY
By the President:
DEAN RUSK,
Secretary of State

From Jimmy Carter, Proclamation 4537 - Thanksgiving Day, 1977, November 11, 1977

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation
Although the first years of America's struggle for independence were often disheartening, our forebears never lost faith in the Creator, in their cause, or in themselves. Upon learning of the American victory at Saratoga in 1777, Samuel Adams composed the first National Thanksgiving proclamation, and the Continental Congress called upon the governors of every state to designate a day when all Americans could join together and express their gratitude for God's providence "with united hearts." By their actions they extended a revered regional custom into a national tradition.
Precisely two centuries have now passed since that time. We have tamed a continent, established institutions dedicated to protecting our liberties, and secured a place of leadership among nations. But we have never lost sight of the principles upon which our Nation was founded. For that reason we can look to the future with hope and confidence.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JIMMY CARTER, President of the United States of America, in accord with Section 6103 of Title 5 of the United States Code, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 1977, as Thanksgiving Day. I ask all Americans to gather on that day with their families and neighbors in their homes and in their houses of worship to give thanks for the blessings Almighty God has bestowed upon us.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eleventh day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred seventy-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and second.
JIMMY CARTER

See Thursday, November 28, 2002 for official Thanksgiving Day proclamations that were blogged in the first year of The Blog from the Core.

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Thu. 11/26/09 08:05:39 AM
Categorized as Historical & Social/Cultural & Speeches and Suchlike.

   
         
         

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