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Richard Hood: Presidents remark on Thanksgiving

Posted: November 18, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: November 18, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Editor’s note: With Thanksgiving nearly upon us, columnist Richard Hood searched through presidential Thanksgiving proclamations to share these quotes with our readers.

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 ... that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be ... and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions.”

— George Washington, 1789

“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and blessing of Almighty God; and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe him, but a duty whose natural influence is favorable to the promotion of the morality and piety, without which social happiness cannot exist, nor the blessings of a free government be enjoyed ... the duties of humiliation and prayer be accompanied by fervent Thanksgiving to the bestower of every good gift. ...”

— John Adam, 1798

“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 so extraordinary in nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”

— Abraham Lincoln, 1863, 1864

“It becomes a people thus favored to make acknowledgment to the Supreme Author from whom such blessings flow of their gratitude and their dependence, to render praise and thanksgiving for the same, and devoutly to implore a continuance of God’s mercies.”

— Ulysses S. Grant, 1869

“We speak of what has been done by this nation in no spirit of boastfulness or vainglory, but with full and reverent realization that our strength is as nothing unless we are helped from above.”

“Our people should set apart a day for praise and thanksgiving to the Giver of Good, and at the same time that they express their thankfulness for the abundant mercies received should manfully acknowledge their shortcomings and pledge themselves solemnly and in good faith to strive to overcome them.”

“Nowhere else in the world is there such an opportunity for a free people to develop to the fullest extent all its powers of body, of mind, and of that which stands above body and mind — character. Much has been given us from on high, and much will rightly be expected of us in return.”

— Theodore Roosevelt, 1903 -1908

“Again I ask all my countrymen to appeal to the Most High, that the God of our Fathers who has blessed this land beyond all others will in his infinite mercy grant to all nations that peace which the world cannot give.”

— Harry S. Truman, 1950

“Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also extend them to the four corners of the Earth.”

“Let us renew that spirit by offering our thanks for uncovenanted mercies, beyond our desert or merit, and by resolving to meet the responsibilities placed upon us.”

“Let us earnestly and humbly pray that he will continue to guide and sustain us. ...”

— John F. Kennedy 1961-1963

“Thanksgiving ... is a time when the differences of a diverse people are forgotten and all Americans join in giving thanks to God for the blessings we share — the blessings of freedom, opportunity and abundance that make America so unique.”

— Gerald R. Ford, 1974

“Sharing in God’s blessings is at the heart of Thanksgiving and at the core of the American spirit.”

— William J. Clinton, 2000

“Our founders thanked the Almighty and humbly sought His wisdom and blessing. May we always live by that same trust, and may God continue to watch over and bless the United States of America.”

“On Thanksgiving Day, we acknowledge that all of these things and life itself, come from Almighty God.”

— George W. Bush, 2003-2004

“We lift our hearts in gratitude to God for our many blessings, for one another, and for our nation.”

— Barack Obama, 2010



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