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By Juanita Bratcher

There’s so much to be thankful for!

There’s so much to be grateful for!

As we celebrate Thanksgiving Day with family and friends, let us be cognizant, grateful and thankful for the blessings God has bestowed upon us.

In celebration of this annual holiday tradition, we give thanks; we’re prayerful, and filled with gratitude for God’s blessings. We’re thankful for a multitude of things and for various reasons.

Thanksgiving Day is a time of reflection, a time to come together with family and friends…and eat heartily.

According to reports, the first Thanksgiving Day was held for three days in 1621 at Plymouth, Massachusetts as a “thank you” Celebration for leaders of the Wampanoag Indian Tribe and their families in appreciation for teaching much needed survival skills in the New World. Other reports state that the first Thanksgiving occurred in 1619 in Virginia.

In a Proclamation (October 3, 1863), President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday to be held in November to unite the North and South after the war. In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November.

So on this Thanksgiving Day, we give God the glory!


Proclamation: By President Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards 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 cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the 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 battle-field; 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 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, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

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