Thursday, November 24, 2005

Givin' Thanks

Fine, the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving. But, the day as we know it would not have risen to national prominence were it not for the foresight of Honest Abe. Add this timely 1863 Proclamation to the long list of Lincoln's historically signifant eloquence:

"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...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 had enlarged the borders of our settlements...It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and 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."

If someone has ever had a better way with words than Abraham Lincoln, I haven't seen proof of it. What a wordsmith. I don't think it's a stretch to say that the declaration bears the same significance today. With so many Americans mired in military conflict away from their families on this holiday, I hope even the most jaded among us can find something to value and appreciate. In honor of the service men and women doing their thing around the world, I celebrate today in the same spirit that President Lincoln intended. You should too.

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