Last Thursday marked the 146th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. I made no entry commemorating it, partially because I had discussed it on Veterans Day, just a week before, and partially because I did not have anything new to add to it, though I guess, reprinting the text of that famous speech would have been a start. I also occasionally wonder if it is Lincoln's greatest speech, or if that honor truly belongs to his Second Inaugural, as Ronald White Jr. claims. It's an interesting line of thoguht, one for which I have no good answer. The talk at Gettysburg is certainly more famous, but is fame all that matters regarding "greatness" or do more factors need to be considered? This might be a subject for a future entry, if I can ponder the question some more, but, I'm not sure there will be a right or wrong answer, as both addresses were so brilliant and so perfect for the events at which the President delivered them.
Coming up this Thursday, just 2 days from now, will be Thanksgiving, a day to remember our blessings and all the positive traits our lives posess. Surely, there are many struggles we each face, challenges that may seem impossible, and various other difficulties that life thows at us, but now is the time to remember the positives, the things about which we can be happy. I know I often worry about happenings in my life and wonder how I will get past them, but when I sit back and think about the big picutre, I find my luck is much more good than bad and that many, many people would be glad to enjoy the benefits I do. This is a special day coming up and I hope all take advantage of this time to remember our bleesings and good fortune.
Here is a Thanksgiving proclamation given by President Lincoln on October 3, 1863.
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly 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 unequaled magnitude and severity, which has 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 prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly 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 defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of 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 battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness 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 one 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 Praise 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 deliverances 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 fervently 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, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State