The First Thanksgiving
September–November 1620: The Mayflower Voyage
The Pilgrims leave Plymouth Harbor in England on a ship called the Mayflower. They seek freedom in America to worship the way they want. The voyage is difficult, but only one of the 102 passengers dies.
The Mayflower's destination is northern Virginia, but the ship is thrown off course by a storm. On December 11th the Mayflower lands at Plimoth and decides to stay.
October 1621: Harvest Feast
Plimoth Governor William Bradford declares a feast to give thanks to God for their first harvest. Massasoit and 90 other Wampanoag are invited to join the 52 Pilgrims for this three-day feast.
The English serve wild turkeys, geese, and ducks. The Wampanoag bring five deer, along with lobsters, clams, oysters, and fish. The feast also includes cucumbers, carrots, cabbages, turnips, radishes, onions, beets, corn, and wild fruits.
On this thanksgiving day, we give thanks as always for the food we are about to eat, for our health and for our families who have gathered with us to offer their thanks for our many blessings.
But today, we also gather to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.With the constant attacks on our very core beliefs being waged against people of faith in this country, let us be reminded that our forefathers did not flee Europe, fight and die for anything short of the right to practice their belief in their God. We owe it to them, we owe it to ourselves and we owe it to our children to be diligent and even zealous in protecting these assaults. If we are to keep "One Nation Under God" in our Pledge of Allegiance, we must act as "One Nation Under God!" Anything less and we fail at making this a better world!On this thanksgiving day we must give special thanks for those of faith who have the courage to stand and express the belief that we are truly One Nation, One Family, One Individual "Under God". With that courage, this will surely be a better nation, a better family and a better body for each of us to live in.Happy Thanksgiving . . .
The First Thanksgiving Proclamation
by George Washington
November 26, 1789
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 enable 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 show 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.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third of October,
in the year of our Lord 1789.
(signed) G. Washington
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