Thanksgiving As We Know It Today

Here is some Thanksgiving Trivia for you. The link to the original article is at the bottom of the page.

Abraham Lincoln, father of the Thanksgiving holiday

By David Jackson, USA Today

Sure, the Pilgrims are credited with starting the tradition of Thanksgiving in America.

But declaring Thanksgiving Day a formal holiday on the fourth Thursday in November required a pair of presidents — two of the most famous, in fact.

Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

It was Lincoln who issued an 1863 proclamation calling on Americans to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving,” partly to celebrate victories in the then-raging Civil War.

“He’s the father of the whole idea of a nation giving thanks for its advantages and privileges of living in a democracy like this,” said Harold Holzer, historian and chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.

Decades later, Roosevelt and Congress acted to establish Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November, in part to lengthen the Christmas shopping season.

Informally, the United States government had recognized periodic days of thanksgiving from the moment of the nation’s birth.

In 1777, a year after the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Congress declared a day of thanksgiving to celebrate a Revolutionary War victory over the British at Saratoga.

The first president, George Washington, declared a day of thanksgiving and prayer in 1789, partly to honor the new U.S. Constitution.

It took the trauma of the Civil War to make Thanksgiving a formal, annual holiday.

Lincoln issued his proclamation on Oct. 3, 1863, three months after Union Army victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, and at a time in which ultimate triumph appeared in sight. “There was a lot to be thankful for in the fall of 1863,” said Allen Guelzo, the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era at Gettysburg College.

Writing that the nation’s many blessings “should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged” by the American people, Lincoln declared: “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.”

(It should be noted that while Lincoln issued this proclamation, most historians believe it was actually written by his secretary of State, William Seward.)

The proclamation served a familiar purpose for Lincoln. “He was always looking for ways to unify the nation in a terrible time of war,” biographer Ronald C. White Jr. said.

Still, the idea of a formal Thanksgiving holiday had been gestating for a long time before Lincoln.

Sarah Josepha Hale, editor of the popular magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book, pushed the idea for years, petitioning Lincoln and his predecessors. (Thanksgiving was only one of Hale’s contributions to American culture; she also wrote the poem Mary Had a Little Lamb.)

After Lincoln, presidents issued annual Thanksgiving proclamations. In last year’s proclamation, President Obama said Thanksgiving Day is “a time to take stock of the fortune we have known and the kindnesses we have shared, grateful for the God-given bounty that enriches our lives.”

For decades after Lincoln, Americans traditionally celebrated Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November, even if it fell on Nov. 30 — as happened in 1939, the end of an economically troubled decade.

Some merchants worried that a late Thanksgiving would cut down on Christmas sales and asked President Roosevelt to move the holiday up by a week – which he did, creating unanticipated havoc.

Some state governors objected, issuing proclamations of their own to keep Thanksgiving on Nov. 30. Other states recognized the Nov. 23 date. This created scheduling issues for holiday traditions ranging from family reunions to football games.

“It was just chaos for a couple of years,” said Bob Clark, supervisory archivist with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum.

Congress eventually stepped in. On Dec. 26, 1941, less than a month after the attack at Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II, Congress passed a law declaring the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, where it remains to this day.

Have a happy and blessed holiday!

101 Things To Be Thankful For (At Least)


My youngest child is eight, so we still play this “game.” Every year at Thanksgiving, we talk about the many things we are thankful for. We go around the table naming what we are thankful for, but we can’t repeat what was said before. After a few rounds, things tend to get pretty silly, but it makes the point – there are countless things to be thankful for. Here is our partial list, in no particular order. Please add to it in the comments section. May you and yours be richly blessed this Thanksgiving season.

  1. God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit
  2. The Bible
  3. Freedom to worship
  4. Pastors
  5. The church
  6. Prayer
  7. Family
  8. Friends
  9. Angels
  10. Stained Glass Windows
  11. Education and Teachers
  12. Ability to learn
  13.  Ability to see, hear, taste, smell and feel
  14.  Ability to hope and dream
  15. Clean Water
  16. Our Homes
  17. A comfortable bed
  18. Good, nutritious Food
  19. Medical Care and medicines
  20. Missionaries
  21. The four seasons
  22. Fireplaces
  23. Sunrises and sunsets
  24. Oceans
  25. The beach
  26. Sunshine
  27. Rain
  28. Waterfalls
  29. The Grand Canyon
  30. The Moon and Stars
  31. Mountain retreats
  32. Compass
  33. Fishing poles
  34. Clothing
  35. Coffee
  36. Chocolate
  37. Photographs & Memory books
  38. Good Books
  39. Jewelry
  40. Shoes
  41. Musical instruments, music and singing
  42. Recording equipment
  43. I Pads and computers
  44. Phones
  45. TV
  46. Good movies
  47. Jobs, meaningful work
  48. Cars
  49. Bicycles
  50. Sports equipment
  51. Stove & Oven, Pots & Pans
  52. Spices
  53. Dishes, glasses, flatware
  54. Curling Iron
  55. Soap & Shampoo
  56. Deodorant
  57. Lotion
  58. Swimming Pools & Water Parks
  59. Toys
  60. Crayons
  61. Glue
  62. Scissors
  63. Roads
  64. Traffic lights
  65. Pets
  66. Cruise Ships
  67. Dolphins & Whales
  68. Birds
  69. Bees & Honey
  70. Trees
  71. Flowers
  72. Candles
  73. Eye glasses
  74. Clocks
  75. Electronic reminders
  76. Hair Stylists
  77. Dentists
  78. Airplanes & trains
  79. Fountains
  80. Christmas Trees
  81. Umbrellas
  82. Ski slopes
  83. Fireworks
  84. Birthday parties
  85. Sharing a bottle of wine
  86. Picnics
  87. Puzzles
  88. Radio
  89. Bubble Bath
  90. Pedicures
  91. Rainbows
  92. Color
  93. Lights
  94. Electricity & Batteries
  95. Toothpaste & Toothbrush
  96. Laughter
  97. Dance
  98. Armed Forces, Police, and Fire Fighters
  99. Holy Communion
  100. Grace
  101. Heaven