The First Thanksgiving

The early years after the
birth of the United States of America were filled with challenges, conflict and
civil concerns with establishing a government and society that would endure the
tests of time. However, the leaders of that day always found time to give public
thanks for the favor and blessings of God. 
They saw God as provider, protector and savior and, therefore, directed
the people of this newly born nation to honor, extol and thank Him for who He
was and what He had given them. They were openly public in their thankfulness
and in their declaration of Him as God of the new nation. So in honor of our
founder’s wisdom in seeking and thanking our Lord and Savior I offer here the
full content of President George Washington’s presidential proclamation
establishing the first official Thanksgiving Day. May it bless you this
Thanksgiving Day!
“Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge
the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His
benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both
Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to
recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and
prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and
signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity
peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next,
to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and
glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is,
or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere
and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this
country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold
mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and
conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and
plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in
which we have been able to establish constitutions of government for our safety
and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted’ for the
civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of
acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great
and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and
supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon
our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or
private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and
punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by
constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws,
discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all
sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to
bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge
and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among
them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal
prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3rd day of October, A.D.
(signed) G. Washington


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