The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1676. But Abraham Lincoln issued a presidential proclamation in the midst of the civil war in 1864. It is a reminder of how central God was to Lincoln’s thought processes. And a reminder of how far our government has moved from “In God We Trust”.
By Paul Cowell
AN 1864 THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION
PRESIDENT ABRAHAM LINCOLN
“It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year…to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps, and our sailors on the rivers and seas, with unusual health.
“He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our working men in every department of industry with abundant rewards.
“Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage and resolution sufficient for the great trial … into which we have been brought by cause of freedom and humanity …
“Now, therefore, I …. do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may be then, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the universe.
“And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid, that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust, and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the great Disposer of events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union and have more to be thankful for than you can list or count. I know I do. harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.”