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What is Thanksgiving All About?

Perhaps some of you are unaware of the origins of this day being set aside as a national day of Thanksgiving.

Also, you may not know that Ol’ Ben Franklin wanted to make the Turkey the national bird, thinking the Eagle a bird of Bad moral character, a rank coward.

‘course now, the turkey Ben Franklin knew was brightly plumed, and a rather cunning bird… and one that wasn’t so darned fat he couldn’t fly. So, had Ben had his way, the turkey would be in the endagered species list, and we’d all be eating roast Eagle, with all the trimmings, I suppose.

Seriously, though…  some of you wonder who we’re thanking, and for what. A look back will answer these questions, and possibly give you a new perspective on things.

Many of you, I’m sure don’t know that Thomas Jefferson wasn’t interested in a national day of Thanksgiving, apparently being conflicted about who we were to thank.  However, some more open minded people prevailed. Like George Washington, for example… who said in part, in his Thanksgiving Day Proclamation;

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and affign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of thefe States to the fervice 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 fincere and humble thanksfor His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the fignal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpofitions of His providence in the courfe and conclufion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have fince enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to eftablish Conftitutions of government for our fafety and happinefs, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are bleffed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffufing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleafed to confer upon us.

In 1863, Lincoln had cause to be thankful, as well.

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.
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 defence, 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 consiousness 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, tranquillity 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

Of course Thanksgiving in it’s current context would be eventually declared unconstitutional, if we allow the courts to run things. And perhaps that’s something we ought to remember today, as well.. and be thankful that they’ve not gotten that kind of power from us.  That, I am certainly thankful for. (May they NEVER have such power!) If original intent counts for anything in the realm of the Constitution, and I think it does, these proclaimations should end the argument about claims of seperation of church and state.. and the push toward the removal of the one we should be thankful to, today. Says Johnathan Rothenburg [1]today, aptly,

While we can and should have debates within the political arena as to the correct role that religion should play in contemporary American society, that debate should be settled democratically by voters, not capriciously by judges. Liberals have often enjoyed success in the courts when they have failed at the ballot box, such as with broad interpretations of the Establishment Clause, these precedents set by our greatest Presidents demonstrate that America’s cultural underpinnings were never based on atheism.

Well, we know why they refuse to bring it to a vote; because they know which way it’ll fall out.

Just in case you think I’m kidding that this is what it’s coming to, check this story from California last night: [2]

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California teacher has been barred by his school from giving students documents from American history that refer to God — including the Declaration of Independence.

In any event, and speaking as a personal matter, I am also thankful that we do not have this guy [3]as president elect.
Or this guy. [4]
Or, God help us, this guy [5].

I’m thankful we have people like this [6] serving our great land.
And this guy. [7]
And these girls. [8]
And these folks. [9]
And these, [10] and these, too [11].

I’m thankful I live in a country that allows me to run a public venue where I can express my views, wihtout being shot for it, as has been happening here [12]and here [13].

And, here. [14]

And, I am grateful to the Lord above for my wife and family, and the immesurable blessings he given me though them.

That’s what today is supposed to be about, gang. If a just a small part of the meaning of this day sunk in, it would be a foundational change for the better.

And we’d have a whole bunch less argument the rest of the year.