A Moment of Thanks

A Moment of Thanks
November 26, 2013

Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)

School Choice Weekly, Issue #18

Thanksgiving and the Advent and Christmas seasons that follow offer time to reflect. So this week, rather than highlighting another horse-race aspect of education politics or policy, and well in keeping with our theme of education, here’s some food for thought.

First, did you know the woman who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb” also was instrumental in having Thanksgiving made a national holiday? In the mid-1800s, Sara Josepha Hale pestered five presidents until President Abraham Lincoln finally acquiesced and made Thanksgiving the third national holiday. Learn more about her and her campaign here.

Here are some excerpts from Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation. Thankfully, our nation is not wracked with civil war, but it has many divisions and troubles that dishearten the stoutest patriots. Lincoln’s words offer hope amid even darker days.

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 …

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 …

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.

SOURCES: World Radio, Washington Post


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Joy Pullmann

Joy Pullmann is a research fellow on education policy for The Heartland Institute and managing... (read full bio)