If you have school aged children, they would tell you that Thanksgiving started with the Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth Rock back around 1621. By the 1660’s though, it was becoming a New England tradition to hold a harvest festival.
The first nation-wide Thanksgiving was declared by President George Washington in 1789 “as a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”
In October of 1863, nearly 150 years ago during the Civil War , President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed our first national day of Thanksgiving for the United States.
A proclamation, drafted by Lincoln’s secretary of state, William Seward stated: “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…they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.”
In the midst of a costly Civil War, the American people began a tradition to give thanks that has endured the ages. In 1941, to make it official, Congress decided that the fourth Thursday in November would always be Thanksgiving.
Hope you enjoyed this quick history lesson. I learned a few things myself. Although you have already celebrated with your family and friends, I hope you took pause to give thanks for the blessings over the last year.
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