Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lincoln's Thanksgiving Message

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live them."

-John F. Kennedy

Thanksgiving is just a few days away. My back yard is covered with red , yellow and gold leaves. Here and there are dry brown leaves...it's all so peaceful and warm. Alan and I have decided to eat our Thanksgiving dinner in the back yard, the sun here in the Bay Area has been incredible lately. It will be a warm 78 degrees, but there is always a gentle breeze flowing up from the bay, so while the sun may have plans to be warm and bright...the air will be cool. Mmmmmm.

I have been missing the art and history journal that I kept on AOL. I used that journal to release some of my passions. My love of music and how it stirs my soul, with memories of past loves. Sometimes I would post short scenes of dialog from favorite movies, and of course the love letters. I am a hopeless romantic at heart. I loved looking at the brief glimpses into the passions of famous people such as Mozart, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Franz Kafka. Not all the letters I put into the journal were of a romantic nature, sometimes I came across extraordinary letters that dealt with other types of love, such as love for our fellow man, and the true meaning of what thanks should be in the human heart.

A Letter Of Thanksgiving
(from the collection of Lincoln's papers in the Library of America series)

The year that is drawing towards it's close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so consistently 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 aggression, peace has been preserved 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 contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron, and coals the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield.

the country rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who ,while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I 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 promise to our beneficent father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverance 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 fevently 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.

"Little Church"
Virginia City, Nevada
October 25th, 2005


Steven said...

I'm starting to see colors around here too. The hard woods are still all green though and they are the display makers. Supposed to be 80º for Turkey day here too.

Thanks for posting the Lincoln letter. Holds true today as it did then. We are so divided these days.

Gaboatman said...

The picture of he Little Church goes so well with this post. I had never read the Lincoln letter before. Thanks for sharing it, it is so fitting this year. Enjoy your outdoor feast Thursday and remember there are so many who are thankful for your friendship. Happy Thanksgiving!