Early Settlers of
Their Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Lifting the Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
The Proclamation was lengthy and gave praise to "our Heavenly Father...[who has] largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while he has opened to us new sources of wealth, and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards...and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions."
For the list of reasons the president gave for thanksgiving, he did "thereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may be then, as a day of praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe."
He asked that citizens pray for "peace, harmony and unity throughout the land."
Many observed the day declared
Thanksgiving by President Lincoln. It was not the first Thanksgiving.
recall reading about the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock in
90 friendly Indians gathered with them to render thanks for protection
the rugged winter. The Continental Congress meeting in
Settling on a particular
sticking with it has been a practice in the
And, we would hope, giving thanks is still a vital part of Thanksgiving. When I was still the hostess for our family Thanksgiving gathering a few years ago, we had the long-standing practice of recalling and telling the gathered family one particular thing that had happened in the past year for which we were especially grateful. We gave some prior thought to what we would report, and going around the large circle of family members as they held hands and thanked God for blessings was a spiritual highlight of our year. I am grateful that my children, now the hostesses, continue this practice.
And so it has been with Thanksgiving among families on this significantly American holiday.
A story my father told me has
me for a long time. When he was a boy, his father and others in the
When I was a child, my father
would raise turkeys for market. It was far beyond the time of the
to market over the Logan Turnpike. We got the turkey poults in the
Amazingly, trays of them were delivered by the rural mail carrier. We
"turkey house" where we fed and nourished the little turkey poults
and watched them grow. But as they grew, they were turned out "on the
range" to gather their food from the hayfield.
But then came the day when the truck would come for the turkeys to take them over Neal Gap (Highway 129) to market. We had to arise early to catch the turkeys and put them in large coops for transport to market. Those turkeys became the repast for city-dwellers' Thanksgiving meals. We always kept a few, one of which would make its way to our oven and our table for the Dyer Thanksgiving meal.
This Thanksgiving, may you remember and be grateful for blessings you enjoy.
We should never take them for granted. As Abraham Lincoln stated in his 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation: "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."
Our 16th president's words ring true for Thanksgiving 2006. Have a wonderful day!
c2006 by Ethelene Dyer Jones; published Nov. 23, 2006 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville, GA. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Updated August 12, 2009