Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas 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; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, 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 tranquillity, 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; 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.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

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George Washington Speaks

You live in a land where few really know what hunger feels like. upon a man’s gut. Yet hunger is what drives a man. It is hunger that ignites the passion of change. I have hungered and froze my body whilst doing so in order that you, my brother, would not have to feel the pangs of a body feasting upon itself.

I fear that the changes that I and many of my countrymen fought and died for have made you soft. When times of trouble hit, you look to blame the politicians, you look to blame your employer, you look outside of yourself for the responsibility of yourself. This was not my dream for you.

My dream for the future of my country was that self-sustaining man, owing allegiance to no monarchy, would live in community in the beautiful and fertile land of America. That together, you would build an oasis of richness of spirit not just richness of pocket: that you would elect government of the same mind. It was my dream for you to be strong, compassionate and responsible.

I look to you now from the arms of the immortal and I still dream for you. I only hope that you will all experience hunger enough that you learn how to care for yourselves and in doing so, insure the future of the country that I love.

To depend on others for survival is a risky venture. It is not innovative thought to sustain your own life. If you have only yourself to depend on then you alone are responsible for your own success or failure.

I say to you, if you want to feed your body, do not wait for the commercialism of your world for nourishment. Farm your land. Dig your soil. Sweat your brow. The result will be that no matter what disaster strikes, you will not starve waiting for others to care for you. You are the masters of your fate.

When your children plead with you for the gadgets of your time, remember, gadgets won’t feed them. Give to them the toys of their youth only after you have instilled in them the knowledge of survival. Teach them how to warm their feet, then allow them the luxury on innocence.

I look into your hearts and hear you ask, “General, sir, how do I begin to change? How do I begin to make myself worthy of the lifetime that you and so many others gave to our country?”

This is how. Simplify your lives. Instead of living to acquire more, learn how to live with less. Ask yourself, does each member of my family that is of age truly require their own vehicle? Do these the baubles of status make me superior?

“Yes,” you say, “but what is the first step? I can’t just rid myself and family of all that we have grown accustomed to. You don’t understand as you have never lived in the modern world.”

To this I scoff and say that you are soft. But I am willing to show you the steps that will guide you more gently, for I cannot expect softness such as yours to firm up overnight.

Your first step is to take a shovel to the earth and plant seeds. Educate yourselves on growing. Turn to your vast resources and learn. Then water the ground, fertilize the soil and watch the fruit of your labor grow. When the first tendril of green life pushes forth out of the earth, imagine that this is the only way that you can insure that your family will eat. You alone are responsible for your survival.

Once upon a time I was honored with the title “Father of the Country,” Father of America. This is heady stuff for any man. But please, if you have ever been of mind to believe such, listen to me now. Listen to your father. Learn to live simpler, not easier. Therein lies your salvation.