PROCLAMATION FOR A NATIONAL THANKSGIVING
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 twenty-sixth 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 enabled 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 shewn 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 third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
NATIONAL THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION
by Abraham Lincoln, 1863
"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 invite and provoke the aggression of foreign States, 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.
"The needful diversions of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship. The axe has 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 consequences 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 Prayer 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, tranquility, 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." Abraham Lincoln.
||Daughters of the Faith Series: Almost Home, a Story Based on the Life of the Mayflower's Mary Chilton
By Wendy Lawton / Moody Publishers
Mary Chilton was one of the 102 passengers who stepped on board the Mayflower in the fall of 1620 for their long-awaited journey to the New World. This odd collection of "saints" and "Strangers" sailed bravely together into the unknown.
All Mary can think about is finally finding a home--a place to belong. As she experiences the adventure and hardship of the ocean voyage, the struggle of starting the new Plymouth colony, and the happiness of the first harvest festival she learns that home has a bigger meaning than she thought. Recommended for ages 8 to 12.
||Three Young Pilgrims
By Cheryl Harness / Simon & Schuster Trade Sales
When Bartholemew, Remember, and Mary Allerton and their parents first step down from the Mayflower after sixty days at sea, they never dream that life in the New World will be so hard. Many in their Plymouth colony won't make it through the winter, and the colony's first harvest is possible only with the help of two friends, Samoset and Squanto. Richly detailed paintings show how the pilgrims lived after landing at Plymouth, through the dark winter and into the busy days of spring, summer, and fall. Culminating with the excitement of the original Thanksgiving feast, Three Young Pilgrims makes history come alive. Recommended for ages 5 to 10.
||If You Sailed on the Mayflower
By Ann McGovern / Scholastic Trade
Imagine being a Pilgrim on the Mayflower, anxiously awaiting arrival in a new land. This popular book in the If You series answers a variety of questions about Pilgrim life--both on the ship and on shore--helping readers understand what it was like to have lived at that time. Four-color illustrations. Grades 2-5
||The Legend of Squanto - Focus on the Family Radio Theatre audiodrama on CD
By Tyndale House
In history books, "Tisquantum" earns a brief mention as the Native American who taught the Pilgrims to fish and farm. Many credit him with America's very first Thanksgiving. But few people know of the tragic events that saw him carried in chains to foreign lands... or what he found when his long exile finally ended. From the slave auctions in Spain to the luxurious splendor of an English manor house, Squanto endured great cruelty yet discovered remarkable kindness at the hands of the white men. He had been forcibly taken by those who thought he was no better than a dumbstruck savage and prized for his brute strength. When at last he had earned the right to go home, it was a much different journey. As he willingly boarded their ship westward in 1619, he brought the one thing these Englishmen didn't possess: a voice that could bring understanding between Native Americans and those who wished to conquer them.
As he faced the salty winds, his mind raced to the reunion ahead and the certain welcome he would receive as a brave warrior who had seen more in a few years than most would in a lifetime.
At the first signs of familiar land his heart pounded ... but where was the smoke from the village fires? Why was a cold silence the only sound to greet him?
The Legend of Squanto is more than a story about an honest man who triumphed over tragedy. It is also a tribute to forgiveness, integrity and the ability to look beyond the color of a man's skin. 100 Minutes. 2 CDs.