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Thanks for staying subscribed to my podcast and I hope you enjoy listening. Just a short episode today to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

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Music is by the Mark Ferguson and is used with permission.

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Today is Thanksgiving and it is a holiday steeped in tradition. I wonder how many of you know that it was Abraham Lincoln who, on October 3, 1863, proclaimed “the last Thursday of November” as Thanksgiving Day. Another interesting bit of information is that a lady by the name of Sara J. Hale, the Editress of the “Ladys Book”, wrote a letter to President Lincoln on September 28, 1863 and asked him proclaim that day in November as a National Thanksgiving Day. I have included a copy of Lincoln’s proclamation at the end of this post.

In addition, I thought it would be interesting to show the following Alfred Waud sketch from the Library of Congress. This is a sketch of a Union camp on Thanksgiving in 1861. If you look closely you can see a soldier carrying a turkey and a dog waiting for him to drop a scrap. There are pots cooking over fires, and hungry men awaiting at a table on the right hand side. The TIFF version of the photo can be found HERE.

So, while you are watching the parade and eating your turkey, pause and say thanks to the soldiers not only of today but of the Civil War era, for without them, what we have to be thankful for might be vastly different.

A Proclamation

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 battlefield; 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 United States the Eighty-eighth


By the President:
WILLIAM H. SEWARD, Secretary of State


The history place – Abraham Lincoln. Retrieved November 22, 2006, from The History Place Web site: http://www.historyplace.com/lincoln/thanks.htm

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