October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
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 theater of military conflict; while that theater 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, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony 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 Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
By the Chaplain,
As you read this proclamation by one of our greatest leaders, I trust you paid close attention to the underlined segments referring to God as the supreme authority over this country and the human race, humbly acknowledged by the president himself.
I believe most people would only consider the Holiday of Christmas and Easter as a Christian or spiritual holiday, but personally, I also consider Thanksgiving as a Christian holiday as well and one that only America can celebrate. If you take the time and study the history of the first few years of the pilgrims you would find they suffered great loss of roughly half of their families and friends attempting to start a new life here in America. Thanksgiving was not to thank the Indians for helping them survive, but rather giving thanks to God creator for allowing their survival and thanking God for sending the Indians to help. Even though the Pilgrims suffered much, they never gave up or shook their fist at God blaming Him for their problems even when the food ration got to a meagerly five kernels of corn per serving, they rather chose to praise Him for the things they did have and did accomplish. Today, we can thank these ( In my book ) Spiritual giants for not giving up on God.. we can all take a lesson from their example. God never promised our lives would be easy, but if we would simply trust him, He promises, the results are well worth the struggle....look at America today......God bless our Godly Ancestors. This is also true of the promise of Heaven for those who would simply put their lives in His Hands.
From my family to yours...Happy Thanksgiving !
God Bless you All
Michael B, Hills, Captain
Chaplain, U.S. Army
When Soldiers Call Upon God, He Answers. When Nations Call Upon God, History Records It!
"Blessed is the Nation who's God is the Lord" Psalms 33:12