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Who Are We Thanking on Thanksgiving?

by Mike Payne

How important was Thanksgiving to the founders and leaders of our country? Based on their own words, apparently, it was very important.

In 1621, Mayflower pilgrim, and later governor of the newly formed New England colony, Edward Winslow wrote, “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together.” Evidently, these first “Americans” thought it was important to offer thanks to our creator.

In 1782, The Continental Congress declared, “…the inhabitants of these States in general, observe Thursday, the twenty-eighth day of November next, as a day of solemn Thanksgiving to God for all his mercies; to testify to their gratitude to God for his goodness, by a cheerful obedience of his laws, and by promoting, each in his station, and by his influence, the practice of true and undefiled religion, which is the great foundation of public prosperity and national happiness. Done in Congress, at Philadelphia, the eleventh day of October, AD, 1782.”  This declaration was signed by John Hanson, President, and Charles Thomson, Secretary.

Just seven years later, on October 3, 1789, our first president, George Washington, issued his own Thanksgiving Proclamation, “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 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 signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

A mere 75 years later, President Abraham Lincoln added, “I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States…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. Done in the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty three.”

As I ponder the indignant claims that the United States was not intended to be a Christian nation and that prayer has no place in the public square,  I have to wonder, what haven’t our children been reading, and, as importantly, why not? These exhortations seem to be as plain as the nose on our collective faces. Is it possible that our public schools, through Federal mandates, are attempting to deny the authenticity and clear intent of historical documents, signed by the most important figures of American history, in order to be “progressive” or politically correct? I won’t even bring up the notion of social engineering…

May God bless the United States of America and may we be ever mindful of the blessings and responsibilities God has bestowed upon us.

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