I wonder how many people really fully understand today the importance of Thanksgiving.
How many students today can tell you more about Thanksgiving, other then the story of the Pilgrims in the winter
of 1620 . How many people realize that Thanksgiving was actually the First form of Veterans Day?
The Constitution should be interpreted as its authors intended.
-US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
During the 18th Century the individual colonies periodically designated a day of thanksgiving in honor of a military
victory, an adoption of a state constitution or an exceptionally bountiful crop. George Washington, the Commander
In Chief of the revolutionary forces in the American Revolutionary War, proclaimed a Thanksgiving in December
1777 as a victory celebration honoring the defeat of the British at Saratoga.
The Continental Congress also appointed one or more thanksgiving days each year, each time recommending to
the Presidents of the states to recognize these days in their states. The First National Proclamation of
Thanksgiving was given by the Continental Congress in 1777:
Now, what is important to realize is What was within this Proclamation. Let us never forget that Christianity was a
part of the Founding Fathers. And it is proven in this Thanksgiving Proclamation given just one year after the
Declaration of Independence.
Continental Congress voting on independence
1775–1777: Pennsylvania State House, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to
acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they
stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of
his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and
Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to
prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:
It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the
eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the
good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine
Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of
their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please
GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance; That it may please
him graciously to afford his Blessing on the Governments of these States respectively, and prosper the public Council of the
whole: To inspire our Commanders, both by Land and Sea, and all under them, with that Wisdom and Fortitude which may
render them fit Instruments, under the Providence of Almighty GOD, to secure for these United States, the greatest of all
human Blessings, INDEPENDENCE and PEACE: That it may please him, to prosper the Trade and Manufactures of the
People, and the Labor of the Husbandman, that our Land may yield its Increase: To take Schools and Seminaries of
Education, so necessary for cultivating the Principles of true Liberty, Virtue and Piety, under his nurturing Hand; and to
prosper the Means of Religion, for the promotion and enlargement of that Kingdom, which consisteth "in Righteousness,
Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost.
And it is further recommended, That servile Labor, and such Recreation, as, though at other Times innocent, may be
unbecoming the Purpose of this Appointment, be omitted on so solemn an Occasion.
As President, George Washington Made the folloing Proclamation and created the First Thanksgiving. Day
designated by the national government of the United States of America on October 3, 1789.
And again let it be known to the world that proof is hereby given that Separation of Church and State did not mean
Preventing public observation of the Christian Faith at Government events.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey
his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and
whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend
to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by
acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by
affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and
happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next
to be devoted by the People of these States to the service 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 sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of
the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold
mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course
and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we
have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to
establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the
national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed;
and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the
great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may
then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of
Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all,
whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and
punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a
Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and
obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown
kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the
knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and
Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone
knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the
year of our Lord 1789
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
Earl R. Lofland