Readings for Thanksgiving

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Some reading material for Thanksgiving Day:

Pilgrim Hall has the only two primary source accounts of the first Thanksgiving in Plimouth Plantation, and the text of every Presidential Thanksgiving proclamation.

Here is President Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation, which counts the nation's blessings in the midst of war. Lincoln begins:

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. is a website devoted to the history of the Mayflower and the Pilgrims. The site has the full text of some books and letters written by the Pilgrims.

Karol of Alarming News, who was born in the Soviet Union, tells us what she's thankful for.

Here's a photo from a big family dinner on Thanksgiving Day 1945 at the Waldorf-Astoria. And another dinner from the same year.

For the 44th year, the Wall Street Journal publishes its traditional pair of Thanksgiving editorials: "The Desolate Wilderness," "And the Fair Land." The former is Nathaniel Morton's contemporaneous account of the Pilgrims' tearful departure from Delftshaven and what they saw upon their arrival in the New World. The latter piece is an editorial, ever-timely though first published in 1961, in tribute to what the Pilgrims and their heirs have built in the desolate wilderness:

But we can all remind ourselves that the richness of this country was not born in the resources of the earth, though they be plentiful, but in the men that took its measure. For that reminder is everywhere-in the cities, towns, farms, roads, factories, homes, hospitals, schools that spread everywhere over that wilderness.

We can remind ourselves that for all our social discord we yet remain the longest enduring society of free men governing themselves without benefit of kings or dictators. Being so, we are the marvel and the mystery of the world, for that enduring liberty is no less a blessing than the abundance of the earth.

And we might remind ourselves also, that if those men setting out from Delftshaven had been daunted by the troubles they saw around them, then we could not this autumn be thankful for a fair land.

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» Thanksgiving from Joel Blain

Happy Thanksgiving! In some ways I like this holiday even more than Christmas (the food is definitely better). While Thanksgiving is not just an American holiday it's interesting to note it's roots here on our shores, especially in light of what's h... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 25, 2004 12:16 AM.

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