Holidays We All Hold Dear - Part III
Although Abraham Lincoln had issued an earlier "Proclamation for Thanksgiving," July 15, 1863, designating August 6 as the day of observance, this is the proclamation which set the precedent for our national holiday.
The second observance of the last Thursday in November was declared by Lincoln in a proclamation dated October 20, 1864. In the following year, President Andrew Johnson, perhaps at Secretary Seward's suggestion, designated the third observance of the day.
PROCLAMATION OF A NATIONAL FAST-DAY - August 12, 1861
PROCLAMATION FOR THANKSGIVING - October 20, 1864
Before we go any further, let me deal with one of the most PARROT-ed phrases ignorantly tossed around our society today:
A few things about this oft muttered 6-word expression (usually... used for the purpose of sounding politically correct...) (Here's a dare: Repeat the phrase... oh, 7 or 8 times... with or without a beer can nearby...!! Try it!! See how intelligent you sound!!) Come to think of it. If you get a whole group trying it, you might sound like a bunch of gobblers who lucked out on Turkey Day. But you had better try it only once. Otherwise, you'll have to look out for members from the local chapter of National Rifle Association prowling your neck of the woods. Anyways, where was I...? The "Separation..." issue:
Lincoln's assignment was not to separate institutions, issues and ideals per se... nor to further divide a nation in sectarian debate. Moreover, Lincoln certainly did NOT consider himself to be Pastor of all America. He was elected to lead the nation as President. Well he knew his position of responsibility. Yet, it is interesting to note... his many scriptural references... throughout his lifetime reveals a knowledge of one anchored in biblical verse as well as the priority position they were in his private and public life.
In January 27, 1838 - Lincoln address the subject of The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions... he spoke of:
...the advancement of the noblest of cause -- that of establishing and maintaining civil and religious liberty.... Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence. -- Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and, in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws: and, that we improved to the last; that we remained free to the last; that we revered his name to the last; that, during his long sleep, we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place; shall be that which to learn the last trump shall awaken our WASHINGTON.
Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
In addition, we recall one of Lincoln's most quoted phrases:
...of the people, by the people, and for the people --
which has its origin in the Foreward to the Great People's Bible translated by William Tyndale several centuries earlier.
Enjoy the time set aside for Giving Thanks!
And enjoy reading the following links, too:
Isaiah 18: 1 - 7 - the Prophet sees the Great Nation at the end of history as we know and understand it
The Destiny of America -- written in Scotland in the early 1700s found in the Library of Congress almost 150 years later
United States Naval Academy - the Academy Cathedral - Michael, the Archangel
Other Speeches and Writings by Abraham Lincoln
Oh... before I forget. Earlier, I had asked a question: Who first penned that "Separation..." phrase? Do you know?
It was Thomas Jefferson... the one who also scribbled all that other stuff we hear when an individual rightlyfully or wrongfully gets their toes stepped on... or even when such professionals as talkin' headed Media are heard squealing... "freedom of the press"... and wild eyed protestors bellowing "freedom to assemble" (both loud-mouthed groups who often forget that if the FIRST freedom -- the "freedom of religion" goes... theirs will be next.) It was for them as well as our common citizenry, that Jefferson wrote: our Bill of priority Rights as individuals... that articulates the Freedom of Religion -- FIRST. He penned the abused Separation of State and Church phrase in private correspondence he wrote.
And since, HE... brought up the subject, I wonder... isn't somebody just a little curious... what Jefferson wrote about the separation of both powerful institutions? And do you suppose some folk are really too afraid to look? Maybe, they just love whinning and makin' noise?
Christmas - The Holidays we all Hold Dear - Part I
Easter - The Holidays We All Hold Dear - Part II
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