Our President, Barack Hussein Obama, issued yesterday his first Thanksgiving Proclamation as America’s chief executive. He continues a long, established and worthy tradition.
However, the President has dramatically changed the nation’s focus. “As we gather once again among loved ones, let us also reach out to our neighbors and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand.” In the early days of American history, thanksgiving wasn’t about turkey dinners and neighborly kindness. It was about worshipping God and giving Him thanks for His blessings to us.
In fact, America's first thanksgiving proclamation, issued by Plymouth colony Governor William Bradford in 1623, ordered citizens to participate in a 3 hour worship service.
Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.
President Obama does indicate thanksgiving is to be directed to someone, but it is for“the contributions of Native Americans, who helped the early colonists survive their first harsh winter and continue to strengthen our Nation.” So God is out and the coastal indians are in.
Granted, Obama isn’t the first recent President to move our focus from God to each other, but I believe he is the first to omit any personal reference to God. Sure, the word “God” does appear once in his proclamation, but it is from a quotation from George Washington. Sadly, the President’s proclamation is befitting of this new age in which America finds itself.
The President also fails as a history teacher. According to the President, Abraham Lincoln “established our annual Thanksgiving Day to help mend a fractured Nation in the midst of civil war.” Wrong! Abraham Lincoln established it to give thanks to God. It wasn’t about the “mend of a fractured nation” at all. It was about acknowledging God.
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
What began as a harvest celebration between European settlers and indigenous communities nearly four centuries ago has become our cherished tradition of Thanksgiving. This day's roots are intertwined with those of our Nation, and its history traces the American narrative.
Today, we recall President George Washington, who proclaimed our first national day of public thanksgiving to be observed "by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God," and President Abraham Lincoln, who established our annual Thanksgiving Day to help mend a fractured Nation in the midst of civil war. We also recognize the contributions of Native Americans, who helped the early colonists survive their first harsh winter and continue to strengthen our Nation. From our earliest days of independence, and in times of tragedy and triumph, Americans have come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.
As Americans, we hail from every part of the world. While we observe traditions from every culture, Thanksgiving Day is a unique national tradition we all share. Its spirit binds us together as one people, each of us thankful for our common blessings.
As we gather once again among loved ones, let us also reach out to our neighbors and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand. This is a time for us to renew our bonds with one another, and we can fulfill that commitment by serving our communities and our Nation throughout the year. In doing so, we pay tribute to our country's men and women in uniform who set an example of service that inspires us all. Let us be guided by the legacy of those who have fought for the freedoms for which we give thanks, and be worthy heirs to the noble tradition of goodwill shown on this day.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 2009, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all the people of the United States to come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather, with gratitude for all we have received in the past year; to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our bounty with others.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
Now contrary to the President’s thinking, thanksgiving doesn’t have a “spirit [that] binds us together as one people”. Thanksgiving and gratitude is more than “FOR” something. It is “TO” someone. Who is responsible for plenty? For freedom? At this point, America’s are divided. Folks like me, say these blessings come from God. I’ll heed the words of Psalm 95
1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.
3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.
I know this post borders on complaining which seems contradictory to Thanksgiving. But if Emanuel Clever happens to read this post, it isn’t yet Wednesday!