CUSO Talk: Thanksgiving’s Beginnings in the United States
by Phil Love
President/CEO Pactola

Thursday of this week is Thanksgiving. Folks will gather to spend time with family, food, and football! It is also a good time to remember how this holiday was started in our country. We all realize the roots of Thanksgiving in the New World began with the pilgrims in New England. But this blog will focus on the start of the holiday in the United States of America.

The first thanksgiving after the start of our country was proclaimed by George Washington in October 1789, which was the first year of our nation and a mere seven months after the seating of our first government. It was the first official proclamation issued by the President of the United States. The leaders of our young nation were extremely grateful for their new nation which was born defeating the most powerful empire on the planet. Washington’s proclamation reads:

“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 favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, 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 transgressions; 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.”

This Thursday, I would encourage you to pause to give thanks for the many blessings that you have been given. Our hearts are also heavy for those friends and family who will not be at your celebration due to distance or passing on. We at Pactola are thankful for each and every client we have had the opportunity to work with in the past year and look forward to deepening those relationships and growing new ones in the coming year. Our lives and our company are richer because of this. We are thankful each day for each and every one of you.

Happy Thanksgiving!


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