Expressing thanks on a Thursday in late fall is a practice linked to the American nation for well over two centuries. Today’s holiday in the U.S. dates to 1863. With the United States torn by civil war, President Abraham Lincoln carried on a tradition begun by George Washington. In an Oct. 3, 1863 proclamation, Lincoln invited his fellow citizens throughout America, “and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands” to observe the last Thursday in November as one “of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” He recommended that, in offering thanks, Americans “do also, with humble penitence … commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers.”
On this Thanksgiving Day, all of us at R&WI offer thanks for all the blessings of our professional and personal lives. We thank you, our readers and our advertisers, for your interest in our work and your loyalty to our publications and events. We thank all those Americans and allies who serve to protect us—those at home, those at sea and those sojourning in foreign lands. We humbly pray for all those who have become widows, widowers, orphans, mourners or sufferers, including those who have lost children.
We note the celebrations of others. These include our friends in Canada, who enjoyed their Thanksgiving in October. Our Sikh friends around the world yesterday commemorated the birth Guru Nanak, their religion’s founder. Next week, our friends in the United Arab Emirates will mark Martyrs’ Day to honor Emiratis who have given their lives in civil, military and humanitarian service.
R&WI’s daily web briefs will return on Nov. 27.