In the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we pause to reflect on all things for which we are truly grateful. As Roman philosopher and orator, Cicero, so aptly said long ago, “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.”
The Thanksgiving Holiday is certainly a time to pause and reflect and be reminded of the importance of being thankful. Yet there is more to be thankful for than you might initially think. In the 1863 Proclamation of Thanksgiving, President Abraham Lincoln first declared to the nation that the last Thursday in November be set aside as a unified day of thankfulness to God for all the bounty before us.
What you may not have realized is that we also owe thanks to a lady by the name of Sarah Hale. Mrs. Hale was a magazine editor and had lobbied for 15 years to have an annual Thanksgiving National holiday that would include both the North and the South on the same day. Before the national Thanksgiving holiday was established by President Lincoln, each state had its own Thanksgiving Day. In a letter to President Lincoln on September 28, 1863, Sarah petitioned him to hold Thanksgiving “on the same day, in all the States” in order “to become permanently, an American custom and institution.” President Lincoln responded to her letter right away.
Sarah deserves our thanks for modelling the fruits of persistence and determination, for holding the vision of a unified nation, and for never giving up on what she thought best for a country. In your Thanksgiving celebrations this year, be thankful for Mrs. Hale and her efforts on our behalf to bring a nation together under a roof of thankfulness.
Below is a partial excerpt from the October 3, 1863 Proclamation by the President of the United States of America:
” . . . 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 beneficient Father who dwelleth in the heavens . . .”
Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday full of thankfulness.