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do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United
States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in
foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November
next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who
dwelleth in the Heavens.

I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due
to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with
humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend
to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners
or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably
engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to
heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be
consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace,
harmony, tranquility and Union.”




America was conceived in liberty. Remember that. 

it because we hear the opposite these days — from our institutions,
from our elites, from those entrusted with the stewardship of the
nation. They say America was conceived in something else: in iniquity,
in trespass, in a civic version of original sin. The invocation of the
last is deliberate. After all, original sin corrupted Creation, and
therefore American original sin corrupted our republic. 

 It is not so.

 We are a
republic born in liberty, peopled at the first by men and women who
brought with them across the seas the most fundamental and virtuous
aspirations of mankind: to live rightly, to worship rightly, and if God
granted it to them, to prosper. The Thanksgiving we celebrate today
commemorates one group of them — a foundational group — in the
Englishmen who landed at Plymouth, survived a killing winter, and laid a
cornerstone of our republic on a cold and distant shore. They were not
the only pioneers to forge a nation in the wilderness on American
shores, nor even the first. But they were, in their martyrdom and
redemption in turn, perhaps the most instructive. They earned their

remember them for two reasons. One reason is historical. America is
blessed with many folkways and many peoples, but there is something
singular about New England, the foundry of our republican ideals and the
birthplace of our revolution. The countrymen who founded New England,
the forefathers of the forefathers, deserve our remembrance. 

other reason is their example, which we follow today. When Englishman
and Wampanoag celebrated in brotherhood after the scouring passage of
the first winter ashore, they gave thanks to the Author of their arrival
and survival: not themselves, nor even one another, but to God. Every
American Thanksgiving since, from that proclaimed by George Washington
to that invoked by Abraham Lincoln to that of the present holiday, turns
toward that same source of goodness and mercy. We are a blessed nation,
and we always have been, in every time and season — whether we
celebrate in a lonely settlement in a New World in 1621, or in our warm
homes in 2023. 

We stay blessed so long as we remember, worship, and thank the Giver of the blessing. 

America was conceived in liberty.
It was so conceived because — as the first Americans understood very
well — it was ordained of Providence. God creates no thing that is not
good: and no rhetoric of original sin or iniquity can change or obscure
that enduring truth. This Thanksgiving, we remember in gratitude— and we
give thanks. 

It is proper. And it is American.

Author: Frances Rice