Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving a recognized, national holiday in 1863. Presented here is a portion of his proclimation, the portion that most spoke to me.
“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they (our blessings) 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.”
Here’s a link to Lincoln’s entire proclimation: http://www.civilwar.org/education/history/primarysources/lincolns-thanksgiving.html
- Giving Thanks: A National Tradition (dakotavoice.com)
- The 1st Thanksgiving was 1621 and We are Still Thanking God in the US! (encorenow.wordpress.com)