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Thursday, November 23, 2006

THANKSGIVING 

Thanksgiving was established as a National Day of Thanks by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Prior to that, Thanksgiving was a regional Holiday,
celebrated at different times, and not in every state.

Although the United States was in the midst of the bloodiest war in our history, President Lincoln felt that we still had many things to be thankful for, and
wanted to remind Americans of the blessings we enjoyed.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we have family and friends who will not be with us. Some are separated by distance, others by circumstance, and
some because they are serving our Nation. But as we enjoy this Holiday, I think it appropriate to read the Proclamation as written by President Lincoln. As
then, although we have family and friends in harms way, we still have many things to be thankful for, many of which are mentioned in the Proclamation.

Please have a safe and wonderful day, and may all of your loved ones be with you in spirit, if not in person.

Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

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 unequaled
magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, 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. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of
peaceful industry to the national defence, 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 consiousness 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 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 it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes 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 Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the
Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

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