I want to wish our soldiers serving our nation here and abroad and everybody out there a safe and very Happy Thanksgiving. Being that Fire of Liberty is political in nature, I thought it would be good to share with you an editorial from the New York Sun which gives a sampling of some of the Thanksgiving proclamations from our former presidents:
John Adams issued a Thanksgiving proclamation in March 1798 that explained itself by saying, "As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of that morality and piety without which social happiness can not exist nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed."So enjoy the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and the five days of football.
Thomas Jefferson — an architect of the idea of the separation of church and state — did not issue a Thanksgiving proclamation. But the practice resumed when the author of the Constitution, James Madison, entered the White House and set aside January 12, 1815, as "a day on which all may have an opportunity of voluntarily offering at the same time in their respective religious assemblies their humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe, of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance."
Lincoln issued four Thanksgiving proclamations. In 1862 and 1863, the wartime president made reference to a divine role in Union military victories. "It has pleased Almighty God to vouchsafe signal victories to the land and naval forces engaged in suppressing an internal rebellion," the 1862 proclamation began. In 1863, Lincoln wrote that the bounties of America were so extraordinary "that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God." In 1864, he set apart the last Thursday in November "as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe."
In 1869, President Grant issued a proclamation recommending that Thursday, November 18, "be observed as a day of thanksgiving and of praise and of prayer to almighty God, the creator and ruler of the universe; and I do further recommend to all the people of the United States to assemble on that day in their accustomed places of public worship and to unite in the homage and praise due to the bountiful Father of All Mercies and in fervent prayer for the continuance of the manifold blessings he has vouchsafed to us as a people."
*Also, check out this interesting Thanksgiving piece in the New York Sun by Roger Miller.