You know we just celebrated Thanksgiving and a good friend of mine sent me the proclamations of our past Presidents regarding Thanksgiving. Here’s an excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation:
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 one 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 praise 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 if, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, 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 3d day of October A.D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
Take a look at what Franklin D. Roosevelt said:
Let us remember them in our families and our churches when, on the day appointed, we offer our thanks to Almighty God. May we by our way of living merit the continuance of His Goodness. Done at the City of Washington this Nineteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and thirty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and sixty-third.
FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT
Here are the words of Ronald Reagan:
A century ago, President Grover Cleveland called for “prayers and song of praise” that would render to God the appreciation of the American people for His mercy and for the abundant harvests and rich rewards He had bestowed upon our Nation through the labor of its farmers, shopkeepers, and tradesmen. Both of these Proclamations included something else as well: a recognition of our shortcomings and transgressions and our dependence, in total and in every particular, on the forgiveness and forbearance of the Almighty.
Today, cognizant of our American heritage of freedom and opportunity, we are again called to gratitude, thanksgiving, and contrition. Thanksgiving Day summons every American to pause in the midst of activity, however necessary and valuable, to give simple and humble thanks to God. The blessings that are ours must be understood as the gift of a loving God Whose greatest gift is healing. Let us join then, with the psalmist of old:
|O give thanks to the Lord, call on His name, Make known His deeds among the peoples!
Sing to Him, sing praises to Him, Tell of all His wonderful works!
Glory in His holy name; Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
NOW, THEREFORE, I, RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 1988, as a National Day of thanksgiving, and I call upon the citizens of this great Nation to gather together in homes and places of worship on that day of thanks to affirm by their prayers and their gratitude the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.
This excerpt from George H. W. Bush:
The liberty that we enjoy today is clearly rooted in our Nation’s Judeo-Christian moral heritage and in the timeless values that have united Americans of all religions and all walks of life: love of God and family, personal responsibility and virtue, respect for the law, and concern for others. If the American Experiment is to continue to bear fruit in generations to come, we must cultivate those values in our children and teach them, by word and example, the difference between liberty and license, between the grateful exercise of freedom and the misuse of our precious rights. I am both confident and grateful that – in the future, as in the past – this thanksgiving tradition will continue to bind us in appreciation of life’s greatest blessings: our families and friends, our rich heritage of freedom, and, most of all, the unchanging wisdom and presence of Almighty God. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH
And finally our current President:
From our earliest days of independence, and in times of tragedy and triumph, Americans have come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.
As Americans, we hail from every part of the world. While we observe traditions from every culture, Thanksgiving Day is a unique national tradition we all share. Its spirit binds us together as one people, each of us thankful for our common blessings… Let us be guided by the legacy of those who have fought for the freedoms for which we give thanks, and be worthy heirs to the noble tradition of goodwill shown on this day. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 2009, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all the people of the United States to come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather, with gratitude for all we have received in the past year; to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our bounty with others. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
Seems that as time has gone along the proclamations have changed. What do you think?