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. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, 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 defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one 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 and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
By the time Lincoln issued the proclamation above, the battles of Chickamauga, Gettysburg, the Vicksburg Campaign, and the battle at Fort Wagner is South Carolina all had occurred, with massive casualties mounting from the third year of the war. It appeared that no end to the fighting was in sight. However, even though things looked bleak, Lincoln still felt it important enough to set apart a day of Thanksgiving and praise for all of the deliverance and blessings bestowed upon his fellow citizens.
I was thinking on my way home from work last night, if Lincoln could be thankful to Almighty God for blessings received in those bleak times of 1863, certainly, our modern problems and concerns pale in comparison. So, as you sit down to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends today, Think back on what must have been going through old Abe's mind in 1863. I think you will come to the same conclusion that I did. That we have way more to be thankful for that we realize, and sometimes the trials and tribulations of daily life need to be put into context before we realize how many blessings we truly enjoy.
May all of you have a enjoyable Thanksgiving holiday, and may you continue to be blessed with may things to be thankful for in the upcoming year.
Edited by EmtHipple, 22 November 2012 - 11:49 AM.