Thursday, November 24, 2005

Give Thanks!

The Emancipation Proclamation had been penned at the beginning of this fateful year. In July, Gettysburg, at a staggering cost of fifty-one thousand lives, had turned the tide of battle in favor of the union.

While there were still dark and difficult days ahead, on October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln called upon the Union to be thankful. The proclamation issued that day has been honored ever since.

I think that November, 2003 is in some ways like the days of Lincoln and Lincoln’s America. There is war, and there is strife. America is a nation strained.

But Lincoln’s words are as true today as they were when they were penned. There is much we need to be thankful for. God has preserved us. He has been merciful and gracious to us.

The full text of the original proclamation follows.

Have a great Thanksgiving:

By the President of the United States of America.

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 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 defence, 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 consiousness 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

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State


Jerry Hanel said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Phil. I give thanks for you. Your words have really been an inspiration for me to do my own writing, so... May God bless you and your house today. May he bring Peace to you today, and give you rest in his arms.

prying1 said...

Thanks for posting this Phil - Love it. I've read it before but did need a refresher course.

AubreyJ said...

Hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving, Mr. Dillon.
Now... Lets get ready for Christmas!!!

dog1net said...

It's been sometime since I last read Lincoln's proclamation in regard to Thanksgiving. But it is something we should be reminded of. Thank you for that.
I'm also thankful of having the pleasure of discovering your blog, and for the dialogue that has developed between us since then.

Lauren said...

Very appropriate and thought provoking. I myself chose to blog about the Mayflower Compact. I know it's sort of a "given" to think about it at this time of year, but I've never been one to forego the old standby's just because they're old.

I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was a blessing for you and your family. May God continue to bless you as we enter this Advent season.

In His Grip,