Yes, last week my column was devoted to Thanksgiving and why it is so important to practice the true meaning of the day. No, I’m not senile (yet), I haven’t forgotten that I wrote that piece, but I think that America’s Thanksgiving is such an important holiday for us that it is certainly worthy of another column as that day draws closer.
Last column I quoted a couple of lines from President Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation. Here it is in its entirety, exactly as it was printed in The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789.
General Thanksgiving By the President of the United States Of America.
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLIC THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;— for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;— for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;— and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;— to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington
OK, now that you’ve scanned it, go back and really read it. Think about the words, how glorious they must have sounded to Americans back then. Think about the fact that Washington had no qualms whatsoever in thanking the Almighty for His blessings. Most Americans believed in God back then. Really and truly believed in God.
I think many of us Americans still believe in a God in heaven, even now in this cynical, secular time. But our politicians are scared to show too much religiosity. They operate on political correctness and on a fear of alienating those among us who may be non-believers. So they dance around any thing that might associate them too closely with God, unless in is in their own self interests to pick up a bible and do a photo-op walking with their families into a church, as Bill Clinton did after the Monica Lewinski scandal.
Having read Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, you now understand the close association America’s Thanksgiving has with God. We are thanking Him for His blessings and asking Him to make us good and wise people. Pay attention this year to what today’s politicians will say regarding Thanksgiving compared to what you just read from Washington. See if any politician can bring himself to actually say the words “Thank you God.” See how many of them mention God’s name at all. It will be interesting… and maybe a little sad.
May God bless you and yours this Thanksgiving. And may God bless the United States of America.