Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

October 3, 1863 
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

Note that Lincoln dates the founding of our nation to the Declaration of Independence, not to the Constitution, just as he did in the Gettysburg Address ("four score and seven years ago" was 1776, not 1787) , as does the Constitution itself (following Article VII, introducing the Signatories).

The Declaration is the founding document of our nation, and the foundation for our law and for our rights.

"We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights..."

We have much to be thankful for.  


  1. "We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights..."

    Just don't tell that to Barack Obama, the supposed Christian. He's censored the 'by our Creator' part on at least two occasions. Once when he was speaking to a homosexual group, go figure.

    The Torch

  2. Michael,

    (To forestall complaints from CrusadeRex) Happy Thanhsgiving Day to all Americans (even the ones who were foolish enough to vote for Mitt Romney).

    The Declaration of Independence is a sensible date to fix nationhood on. Instead of trying to use the date of the ratification of the Constitution, which was a messy affair involving 13 disparate colonies attempting to achieve compromise and agreement.

    In Australia, we have a similar situation. The national day, Australia Day, January 26, celebrates the setting up of the penal colony at Botany Bay in 1788. That's another thing Australians have for being grateful to Americans. If it wasn't for American Independence, British settlement of Australia probably wouldn't have occurred. It only happened because Britain had lost its dumping ground for convicts and Captain James Cook had reported that Australia would make a good site for a penal colony (he probably couldn't think of any other use when he saw it in 1770).

    Occasionally, there are suggestions to make the national day January 1, commemorating the formation of a single nation from the separate states in 1901. But it will never happen. January 1 is already a public holiday, and hence we'd lose one. New Zealand is the land of the Long White Cloud. Australia is the land of the Long Weekend.

  3. When I was a kid and already an atheist, Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday because I thought it was the Indians we where thanking. Then Christians like Egnor started rubbing everyone’s face in it. Screw them, I’ll be thankful to the people who make my life full of love, joy, and wonder, and use this day to let them know how much I appreciate them.


    1. The distinction may be less significant than you think.

    2. KW: "...I’ll be thankful to the people who make my life full of love, joy, and wonder..."

      Why are you an atheist then? Who do you think made all those people? Why do you stay on first base instead of running all the way to home? Don't you like to score?

      (I hope you can read between the lines...)

    3. KW,
      Nice to see you've done some growing up.

  4. Happy Thanksgiving, Mike.
    I hope you and your family enjoy the bounties of the year and a peaceful and fun holiday.
    God Bless.
    Ditto for all you folks in Dixie (of ALL genotypes, KW) and the West, South West and Beyond.
    There is a sizeable group of folks up this way that celebrate the same day, as they are descended from Loyalists (my wife's family included) and we are now beginning to see 'Black Friday' sales up here too :P
    I suspect it's only a matter of time before we infect you folks with 'Boxing Day' sales too (26th December, St Stephen's feast day) as nobody seems to be able to pass up a good sale these days ;)

    Do you folks have some sort of harvest festival? That is the relevant holiday here. Australia Day, as I understand it, is more akin to a Columbus Day kind of event. While Canada Day and Independence Day are 'founding' days.
    If you do have a harvest festival(I honestly cannot recall) I imagine it would be in our spring, no? If not, there's a good shot at another long weekend!

    1. CrusadeRex,

      No, we don't have a Harvest Festival. Australia Day is a (European) settlement day. The Australian Aborigines were here for at least 40,000 perhaps 50,000 years, surviving in one of the world's harshest climates (ok, the Inuit don't have it very easy either).

      Captain James Cook discovered the east coast of Australia in 1770, but the west coast (where I live) was known to Europeans for much longer. The Dutch, when they were sailing to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) used to sail due east in the roaring 40s and then do a hard left turn to avoid the West Australian coast. Without the means of determining longitude, ships occasionally piled up on the coast.

      The crew and passengers of the 'Batavia' in 1629 were the first involuntary temporary settlers when their ship was wrecked in the Abrolhos Islands. Peter FitzSimons' book 'Batavia' if you can get it has a very good novel like account, which has everything - mutiny, rape, pillage, sexual slavery, unbelievable bravery and endurance - it's a great read.

      Public holidays in Australia aren't a problem. The Queen seems to have several birthdays each year. If her birthday isn't at a convenient time (because it's too close to another one) then it gets shifted several months.

    2. I agree with CrusadeRex, but, being of French origin, I cannot say, as he does:
      "Happy Thanksgiving, Mike."
      but, my French protocol, compels me to say:
      "Happy Thanksgiving, Dr Egnor."

      Give onto Ceasar...

      (PS: sorry, but I could not resist, a sale on commas,,,!)

    3. Bach,

      I am aware of the history of your settlements, although I do not profess to be an expert on the subject.
      We also celebrate the Monarch's Birthday on the 24th of May in most Provinces (closest weekend) and federally it is a day off.
      Shame you don't celebrate some sort of harvest festival.
      I am sure many of the people who live their today who enjoy it and many of their ancestors certainly did before they left Europe. Certainly the generations of people who emigrated since the end of the penal period would enjoy such a holiday, I am sure.
      I am also sure there are harvests.
      Good food, company, and a ritual of thanks for the bounty of the land. It engenders a good feeling of fellowship and has very little to do with nationalism or politics here. I would not call it a secular holiday, as it intones a kids of grace - but it is certainly eucanemical or universal in nature. All but the strictest and fringe faiths seem to celebrate it openly, and even the progressive types too!
      PS OktoberFest is a blast too!

      Bien sûr, mon ami.
      But you must understand, my familiar tone indicates fellowship in English - not disrespect.