I was planning to craft a poignant Thanksgiving message then in full humility I decided to defer to my favorite President, Ronald Reagan. I love how he in turn deferred to my second favorite President George Washington in his Thanksgiving address. Enjoy!
THANKSGIVING DAY, 1988 — “The basic yearning for freedom, peace, and prosperity . . . has always been the spirit of the New World.”
The celebration of Thanksgiving Day is one of our Nation’s most venerable and cherished traditions. Almost 200 years ago, the first President of these United States, George Washington, issued the first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation under the Constitution and recommended to the American people that they “be devoted 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.” . . .
A century ago, President Grover Cleveland called for “prayers and song of praise” that would render to God the appreciation of the American people for His mercy and for the abundant harvests and rich rewards He had bestowed upon our Nation through the labor of its farmers, shopkeepers, and tradesmen. Both of these Proclamations included something else as well: a recognition of our shortcomings and transgressions and our dependence, in total and in every particular, on the forgiveness and forbearance of the Almighty. . . .
Thanksgiving Day summons every American to pause in the midst of activity, however necessary and valuable, to give simple and humble thanks to God. This gracious gratitude is the “service” of which Washington spoke. . . .
The images of the Thanksgiving celebrations at America’s earliest settlement — of Pilgrim and Iroquois Confederacy assembled in festive friendship – resonate with even greater power in our own day. People from every race, culture, and creed on the face of the Earth now inhabit this land. Their presence illuminates the basic yearning for freedom, peace, and prosperity that has always been the spirit of the New World.
In this year when we as a people enjoy the fruits of economic growth and international cooperation, let us take time both to remember the sacrifices that have made this harvest possible and the needs of those who do not fully partake of its benefits. . . .
It’s a good life.