Author of the first American dictionary, Noah Webster, says Thanksgiving is “a public celebration of divine goodness; also, a day set apart for religious services, specially to acknowledge the goodness of God, either in any remarkable deliverance from calamities of danger, or in the ordinary dispensation of his bounties.”
The tradition of Thanksgiving as a time to focus on God and His blessings dates back almost four centuries. While such celebrations occurred at Cape Henry, Virginia as early as 1607, it is from the Pilgrims that we derive the current tradition of Thanksgiving.Read more
Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
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:”