by WorldTribune Staff, November 23, 2017
The first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation was written by President George Washington on Oct. 14, 1789.
Washington noted the day was “[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.”Washington proclaimed the day “[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 favor, able interpositions of His providence 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.”
The first president “took the counsel of God seriously, and was well known for his study of Scripture and employing that knowledge liberally throughout his military and political career,” Michael Giere, who worked in both the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, wrote for the Fairfax Free Citizen.
“At his home in Mount Vernon, his prayer kneeler still sits next to his bed, where he kept a meticulous journal of his prayer life, reportedly spending two hours many evenings in prayer.”
Washington “understood, and spoke, and wrote often about the Divine intersection of events that brought the new Republic into existence, and what would ensure the continued blessings of liberty,” Giere wrote, adding that “today’s secularists and atheist apologists, constantly attacking and trying to strip religion and faith from every aspect of public life, have vapors every Thanksgiving, trying to pretend that the day was set aside as a generic celebration of sentimentality; begging the question, a Thanksgiving for what and to whom?”
Washington’s Thanksgiving proclamation was bold and clear. He wrote that the nation should give thanks 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 has been pleased to confer upon us.”
Giere concluded that our current president, “future presidential candidates and other public officials would serve a valuable role if they reintroduced, with vigor and depth, the historical role of civic faith in their own campaigns and declarations. And people of faith – the vast majority of Americans – should stand up in every available forum and take back their legitimate role in the civil society. They need to employ the same ‘in the street’ tactics of the radicals in courtrooms, community centers, and in elections; and start on their knees.”