President Roosevelt's Thanksgiving Proclamation

Secretary of State

When nearly three centuries ago the first settlers came to the country which has now become this great republic, they fronted not only hardships and privation, but terrible risk to their lives. In those grim years the custom grew of setting apart one day in each year for a special service of thanksgiving to the Almighty for preserving the people through the changing seasons. The custom has now become national and hallowed by immemorial usage. We live in easier and more plentiful times than our forefathers, the men who with rugged strength faced the rugged days; and yet the dangers to national life are quite as great now as at any previous time in our history. It is eminently fitting that once a year 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. During the past year we have been blessed with bountiful crops. Our business prosperity has been great. No other people has ever stood on as high a level of material well-being as ours now stands. We are not threatened by foes from without. The foes from whom we should pray to be delivered are our own passions, appetites, and follies; and against these there is always need that we should war.

Therefore, I now set apart Thursday, the 30th day of this November, as a day of thanksgiving for the past and of prayer for the future, and on that day I ask that throughout the land the people gather in their homes and places of worship, and in rendering thanks unto the most High for the manifold blessings of the past year, consecrate themselves to a life of cleanliness, honor, and wisdom, so that this nation may do its allotted work on the earth in a manner worthy of those who founded it and of those who preserved it.

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The Sunshine of Christian Science
November 11, 1905
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