I thought I’d share some thoughts (random though they may be) and hopefully some of what I say will add to your celebration.
On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day "of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father." Here is an excerpt from the text of Lincoln's proclamation … after listing some of the blessings the nation had received, Pres. Lincoln said:
“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.”
What prompted President Lincoln to establish Thanksgiving Day as a permanent national holiday? In the 1800’s only a few states celebrated Thanksgiving Day. Sarah Hale, a strong-willed widow, A WRITER, no less, believed that Thanksgiving was a very important holiday. She thought the whole country should celebrate it on the same day. Sarah felt such a holiday would help unify our nation. She began writing letters to the President of the United States. In each letter she would plead her case and ask the president to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Sarah wrote to President Taylor. He said no. Next, she wrote to President Fillmore. He also said no. Then she wrote to President Pierce and after him, she wrote to President Buchannan. Like those before him, he also told Sarah no. Finally, after 17 years and thousands of letters, Sarah wrote to President Lincoln. He agreed with her and on October 3, 1863, President Lincoln declared that the fourth Thursday of November would be Thanksgiving Day and thus a national holiday of gratitude was born.
On Tuesday, my class led our school’s morning ceremony. They did a great job and the entire class recited an adorable Thanksgiving poem in unison. It’s one that my daughter, Shannon, now 37, memorized in the first grade and I have loved it ever since. For your pleasure, I share it with you now:
There lay upon the table
A turkey big and round
But when it was time to cook it,
It was nowhere to be found.
They all looked in the kitchen
And in the pantry well.
They asked Kate if she'd seen it
And John and Anna Bell.
Even tiny Mary,
They asked her if she knew,
Where the missing turkey was.
She said, "Of course I do.
Poor turkey wasn't feeling well
Because he lost his head.
So I put my nightie on him
And tucked him in my bed."
I hope you all have loved ones to share this special day with. We will be gathered together with many extended family members for a wonderful lunch, prepared by all who attend. Then in the evening some of our family members are bringing and serving Thanksgiving dinner to the families that reside at the Ronald McDonald House near Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
May you have a blessed day!