Thanksgiving Proclamation: George Washington

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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 26th 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 to 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 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

G. Washington Signature
George Washington
President of the United States of America

A Prayer for People in Public Office

May Those generations whose faces we cannot yet see, whose names we may never know, say of us here that we led our beloved land into a new century with the American Dream alive for all her children; with the American promise of a more perfect union a reality for all her people; with America’s bright flame of freedom spreading throughout all the world. From the height of this place and the summit of this century, let us go forth. May God strengthen our hands for the good work ahead–and always, always, bless our America.

Bill Clinton, Second Inaugural address, January 20, 1997

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton

Thanksgiving Proclamation: Bush, 2007

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bush-praying-faded1.jpgAmericans are a grateful people, ever mindful of the many ways we have been blessed. On Thanksgiving Day, we lift our hearts in gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy, the people we love, and the gifts of our prosperous land.

Our country was founded by men and women who realized their dependence on God and were humbled by His providence and grace. The early explorers and settlers who arrived in this land gave thanks for God’s protection and for the extraordinary natural abundance they found. Since the first National Day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President George Washington, Americans have come together to offer thanks for our many blessings. We recall the great privilege it is to live in a land where freedom is the right of every person and where all can pursue their dreams. We express our deep appreciation for the sacrifices of the honorable men and women in uniform who defend liberty. As they work to advance the cause of freedom, our Nation keeps these brave individuals and their families in our thoughts, and we pray for their safe return.

While Thanksgiving is a time to gather in a spirit of gratitude with family, friends, and neighbors, it is also an opportunity to serve others and to share our blessings with those in need. By answering the universal call to love a neighbor as we want to be loved ourselves, we make our Nation a more hopeful and caring place.

This Thanksgiving, may we reflect upon the past year with gratefulness and look toward the future with hope. Let us give thanks for all we have been given and ask God to continue to bless our families and our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 22, 2007, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather together in their homes and places of worship with family, friends, and loved ones to reinforce the ties that bind us and give thanks for the freedoms and many blessings we enjoy.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-second.

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GEORGE W. BUSH

Thanksgiving Proclamation: Clinton

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From the beginnings of our Nation, we have sought to recognize the providence and mercy of God with words and acts of gratitude, indeed with effort and energy toward helping others wherever need occurred. In the colorful days and weeks when the autumn of the year brings ripe and fruitful harvest across our land, Americans give thanks for many blessings. It is a time of bounty and generosity, a time to come together in peace.


This is the true spirit of Thanksgiving: acknowledging God’s graciousness, and in response, reaching out in service to others. This spirit was apparent in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621, when Pilgrim immigrants sat down with native Americans and celebrated their common harvest.


This same spirit of Thanksgiving inspires our great nation and our people to act with justice and concern toward all the peoples of the world and toward one another here at home. We are grateful for the dramatic progress made towards a comprehensive peace in the Middle East and for the Agreement signed in our United States; we are thankful for the relief efforts that our Nation and other have undertaken where natural disasters have struck unmercifully.


Still, in this final decade of the twentieth century, we face great challenges. The troubled areas of our world continue to challenge our ability to find peaceful and equitable solutions. On this Thanksgiving Day, the hospitality and harmony of loved ones, friends, and neighbors, remind each of us that we belong to the larger family of mankind.


As we gather together during this sacred and cherished time, let us pledge to build a new America where everyone will have a place at the table, and no one will be left out. In this way we will truly maintain the spirit of thanksgiving that has enriched our country since its beginnings. While recognizing the importance of individual responsibility, we will continue to place the strength and benevolence of this great Nation at the service of all its people, indeed of all the peoples of the earth. Then, in these richer years, we will reap a true and fruitful harvest.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 25, 1993, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the citizens of this great Nation to gather in their homes, places of worship, or wherever they may choose to express heartfelt thanks for the abundance bestowed on us throughout our history.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventeenth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.

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WILLIAM J. CLINTON
November 17, 1993

Thanksgiving Proclamation: Kennedy

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“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”

More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God for their preservation and for the good harvest from the virgin soil upon which they had labored. Grave and unknown dangers remained. Yet by their faith and by their toil they had survived the rigors of the harsh New England winter. Hence they paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.


This year, as the harvest draws near its close and the year approaches its end, awesome perils again remain to be faced. Yet we have, as in the past, ample reason to be thankful for the abundance of our blessings. We are grateful for the blessings of faith and health and strength and for the imperishable spiritual gifts of love and hope. We give thanks, too, for our freedom as a nation; for the strength of our arms and the faith of our friends; for the beliefs and confidence we share; for our determination to stand firmly for what we believe to be right and to resist mightily what we believe to be base; and for the heritage of liberty bequeathed by our ancestors which we are privileged to preserve for our children and our children’s children.


It is right that we should be grateful for the plenty amidst which we live; the productivity of our farms, the output of our factories, the skill of our artisans, and the ingenuity of our investors. But in the midst of our thanksgiving, let us not be unmindful of the plight of those in many parts of the world to whom hunger is no stranger and the plight of those millions more who live without the blessings of liberty and freedom. With some we are able to share our material abundance through our Food-for-Peace Program and through our support of the United Nations Freedom-from-Hunger Campaign. To all we can offer the sustenance of hope that we shall not fail in our unceasing efforts to make this a peaceful and prosperous world for all mankind.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN F. KENNEDY, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, the twenty-third day of November of this year, as a day of national thanksgiving.


I urge all citizens to make this Thanksgiving not merely a holiday from their labors, but rather a day of contemplation. I ask the head of each family to recount to his children the story of the first New England thanksgiving, thus to impress upon future generations the heritage of this nation born in toil, in danger, in purpose, and in the conviction that right and justice and freedom can through man’s efforts persevere and come to fruition with the blessing of God.


Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also to extend them to the four corners of the earth. Let us by our example, as well as by our material aid, assist all peoples of all nations who are striving to achieve a better life in freedom.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this twenty-seventh day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-sixth.

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JOHN F. KENNEDY

Thanksgiving Proclamation: Eisenhower

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As a nation much blessed, we feel impelled at harvest time to follow the tradition handed down by our Pilgrim Fathers of pausing from our labors for one day to render thanks to Almighty God for His bounties. Now that the year is drawing to a close, once again it is fitting that we incline our thoughts to His mercies and offer to Him our special prayers of gratitude.

For the courage and vision of our forebears who settled a wilderness and founded a Nation; for the “blessings of liberty” which the framers of our Constitution sought to secure for themselves and for their posterity, and which are so abundantly realized in our land today; for the unity of spirit which has made our country strong; and for the continuing faith under His guidance that has kept us a religious people with freedom of worship for all, we should kneel in humble thanksgiving.

Especially are we grateful this year for the truce in battle-weary Korea, which gives to anxious men and women throughout the world the hope that there may be an enduring peace:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, do hereby call upon our people to observe Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November, 1953, as a day of national thanksgiving. On that day let all of us, in accordance with our hallowed custom, forgather in our respective places of worship and bow before God in contrition for our sins, in suppliance for wisdom in our striving for a better world, and in gratitude for the manifold blessings He has bestowed upon us and upon our fellow men.

IN WITNESS 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 Seventh day of November in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-eighth.

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DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

Thanksgiving Proclamation: Roosevelt

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I, FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Thursday, the twenty-first day of November 1940, to be observed nationally as a day of thanksgiving.

In a year which has seen calamity and sorrow fall upon many peoples elsewhere in the world may we give thanks for our preservation.

On the same day, in the same hour, let us pray:

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in Thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail;

Amen.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States of America to be affixed.

DONE at the City of Washington this 9th day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and forty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and sixty-fifth.

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FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT