Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving 1863 (During The Real Civil War)

Let's take a 24 hour break from the Oregon vs Oregon State "Civil War" to celebrate the great American tradition of Thanksgiving.

From Newt Gingrich the History Professor:

The Civil War was raging. Three months earlier, the Battle of Gettysburg had left 50,000 Americans killed, wounded or missing. Riots were tearing apart American cities.

In the midst of this chaos, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed in October 1863 that the last Thursday of November should henceforth be set aside as a day of thanksgiving.

Lincoln acknowledged that the nation was "in the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity." But he focused instead on the nation's blessings, urging his fellow Americans to remember that "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."

And Lincoln, too, proclaimed that all Americans set aside the day for a public expression of gratitude to God. He wrote, "It has seemed to me fit and proper that they [gifts of God] should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people."