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Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

"A Day of Publick Thanksgiving"

History, Holidays

Thanksgiving, like many other holidays and historical events these days, is losing its original significance. Christmas has de-evolved into a holiday gift getting frenzy--totally ignoring the birth of Christ, the original reason for the holiday. Easter no longer celebrates the resurrection of Jesus Christ but instead is a time of Easter egg hunts, bunnies and ham dinners.

Thanksgiving lately is either skipped over entirely as the world of retail moves immediately from Halloween to Christmas Holiday decorations and catalog ads. If the November holiday is mentioned, it is now a time set aside for "Turkey Day" and thanking those around us. My son was given a children's music tape by Steve Chapin that had a whole song about Thanksgiving being a time to have a family dinner and thanking the earth for food! This is not what Thanksgiving was ever intended to be.

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebration set aside to thank the Almighty for His providential care for us. Not to thank the earth. Not to thank your wife or neighbor or baby sitter. I don't have a problem with thanking people; I think we should thank those who work hard or are helpful. It is just that thanking those around us was not the original intent of the holiday.

Lest you think I am indulging in a little revisionist history of my own, read this post from Thanksgiving 2006 to see what our first president had to say about this holiday. 

The father of our country understood that every action he took while president would establish a precedent for future officeholders, and he kept that in mind throughout his eight years in the White House. He wanted to make certain that future presidents acted with humility and respected the separation of powers among the three branches of government.”

That quote came directly from, The Everything American Government Book. Keep that quote in mind, that George Washington understood that every action he took established precedent, as you read his Thanksgiving proclamation of 1789.

Other presidents have made Thanksgiving proclamations since Washington. Tom Gehl included excerpts from Lincoln’s proclamation in his excellent blog piece from last year, For The Giving of Thanks.

 
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 to implore His protection and favour; 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 PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness".
 
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
 
And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine. (signed) G. Washington
 
Have a Happy Thanksgiving
 
Thankfulness is the soil in which joy thrives
                                                         (Unknown) 
 

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