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  • Writer's pictureRachel Langan

Presidential Quotes on Thanksgiving

Today’s words of wisdom: Presidential quotes regarding the Thanksgiving holiday. (Quotes are followed by a brief history of the Thanksgiving holiday.)

"They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy."

~Abraham Lincoln, 1863

"And let us by no means forget while we give thanks and enjoy the comforts which have crowned our lives that truly grateful hearts are inclined to deeds of charity, and that a kind and thoughtful remembrance of the poor will double the pleasures of our condition and render our praise and thanksgiving more acceptable in the sight of the Lord." ~Grover Cleveland, 1885

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord." Across the uncertain ways of space and time our hearts echo those words, for the days are with us again when, at the gathering of the harvest, we solemnly express our dependence upon Almighty God.

The final months of this year, now almost spent, find our Republic and the Nations joined with it waging a battle on many fronts for the preservation of liberty.

In giving thanks for the greatest harvest in the history of our Nation, we who plant and reap can well resolve that in the year to come we will do all in our power to pass that milestone; for by our labors in the fields we can share some part of the sacrifice with our brothers and sons who wear the uniform of the United States.

It is fitting that we recall now the reverent words of George Washington, "Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy Protection," and that every American in his own way lift his voice to heaven." ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 1942

Last but not least, Barack Obama's Presidential Proclamation of Thanksgiving, 2015.

As promised, a brief history of Thanksgiving:

  • Within the federal government, the Thanksgiving tradition pre-dates the U.S. Constitution adopted in 1789, and was observed by the Continental Congress.

  • President George Washington issued the first presidential Thanksgiving proclamation but that was not officially observed as a concurrent tradition by every president until Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be observed on Thursday, November 26, 1863.

  • Before Lincoln, Thanksgiving was generally promoted in government at the state level.

  • President Franklin Delano Roosevelt officially made the holiday the fourth Thursday in November in 1942.

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