I like learning something every now and then and although I remember the basic 2nd grade story about the pilgrims and indians, I didn't realize it took so long to become a national holiday. So, here's a tidbit on the Thanksgiving holiday... enjoy! (kind of long, but an interesting read.) The First Thanksgiving - 1621, to commemorate the harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony after a harsh winter. celebrated as a traditional English harvest feast, to which they invited the local Wampanoag Indians. All thirteen colonies did not celebrate Thanksgiving at the same time until October 1777. George Washington was the first president to declare the holiday, in 1789. A New National Holiday - mid–1800s, many states observed a Thanksgiving holiday. poet and editor Sarah J. Hale began lobbying for national Thanksgiving holiday. During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln, looking for ways to unite the nation, discussed the subject with Hale. In 1863 he gave his Thanksgiving Proclamation, declaring the last Thursday in November a day of thanksgiving. 1939, 1940, and 1941 Franklin D. Roosevelt, seeking to lengthen the Christmas shopping season, proclaimed Thanksgiving the third Thursday in November. Controversy followed, and Congress passed a joint resolution in 1941 decreeing that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains.
Thanksgiving Proclamation (abridged)- The year that is drawing toward 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 can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as the iron and coal as of our 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 battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness 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 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.
... implore the imposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, 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.
I am so touched by Lincoln's acknowledgement of the Lord's hand in our nation's blessings. Even in the time of Civil War, he found good. How inspiring! He and my mom would've really gotten along! :)