From all of us at Hot Air and Townhall Media Group, we wish our readers a blessed and happy Thanksgiving holiday. Hopefully, your day will be filled with love, fun, and lots of good food — and no guests who recently read a “How To Converse With Your Problematic Family at Thanksgiving” think pieces.
Every year, I like to browse through presidential Thanksgiving proclamations in search of inspiring thoughts about the nature of gratitude and what it means for our nation. In 1904, Theodore Roosevelt offered his perspective on the blessings which Americans enjoyed, and the necessary sense of citizenship required to maintain them. One point, in particular, speaks to our time as well as TR’s: the prerequisite of both a “high average” in citizenship and the duty we owe to ourselves and our neighbors. The necessity of these duties, Roosevelt argued, was the “grave responsibility” of every American.
It has pleased Almighty God to bring the American people in safety and honor through another year, and, in accordance with the long unbroken custom handed down to us by our forefathers, the time has come when a special day shall be set apart in which to thank Him, who holds all nations in the hollow of His hand, for the mercies thus vouchsafed to us. During the century and a quarter of our national life, we, as a people, have been blessed beyond all others, and for this we owe humble and heartfelt thanks to the author of all blessings.
The year that has closed has been one of peace within our own borders as well as between us and all other nations. The harvests have been abundant, and those who work, whether with hand or brain, are prospering greatly. Reward has waited upon honest effort. We have been enabled to do our duty to ourselves and to others. Never has there been a time when religious and charitable effort have been more evident. Much has been given to us and much will be expected from us. We speak of what has been done by this nation in no spirit of boastfulness or vainglory, but with full and reverent realization that our strength is as nothing unless we are helped from above.
Hitherto we have been given the heart and strength to do the tasks allotted to us as they severally arose. We are thankful for all that has been done for us in the past, and we pray that in the future we may be strengthened in the unending struggle to do our duty fearlessly and honestly, with charity and good will, with respect for ourselves and with love toward our fellow-men. In this great Republic, the effort to combine national strength with personal freedom is being tried on a scale more gigantic than ever before in the world’s history. Our success will mean much, not only for ourselves, but for the future of all mankind, and every man or woman in our land should feel the grave responsibility resting upon him or her, for in the last analysis this success must depend upon the high average of our individual citizenship, upon the way in which each of us does his duty by himself and his neighbors.
Now, therefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart Thursday, the twenty-fourth of this November, to be observed as a day of festival and thanksgiving by all the people of the United States at home or abroad, and do recommend that on that day they cease from their ordinary occupations and gather in their several places of worship or in their homes, devoutly to give thanks unto almighty God for the benefits He has conferred upon us as individuals and as a nation, and to beseech Him that in the future His divine favor may be continued to us.
In witness 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 1stday of November, in the year of our Lord One thousand nine hundred and four, and of the independence of the United States the One hundred and twenty-ninth.
Again, may you all enjoy a happy and blessed day of rest and gratitude.