Right On: Giving thanks in a time of strife

Stock images, St. George News

OPINION — In this time of extraordinary political and civil discord, my thoughts turn back to a time in which our nation was in even greater turmoil. In 1863, during the height of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the fourth Thursday in November a national day of Thanksgiving. It remains one of our most widely observed and beloved holidays.

Lincoln’s proclamation is well worth reading in its entirety, reminding us of the source of all our blessings, both individually and as a nation. As you read it, I invite you to apply these words to today’s circumstances.

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 unequalled 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 had 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 consciousness 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 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, tranquility 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 Lordone thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.”

— President Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863

Howard Sierer is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2017, all rights reserved.

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  • theone November 23, 2017 at 10:58 am


    • desertgirl November 23, 2017 at 12:17 pm

      Boy are you a total ass. Nothing changes with you and negative view of all except yourself and a tree. the wisheswastheone can’t be civilized for one day. I’m sure you are a progressive Putin lover.

      • theone November 24, 2017 at 9:35 am

        Having a negative reaction in order to imply I’m negative is kind of an oxymoron don’t you think……..
        But hey, living in the delusional state that you do impedes you from rational behaviour.
        Again, yawn……..

    • desertgirl November 23, 2017 at 12:18 pm

      Holding my nose lol

  • desertgirl November 23, 2017 at 12:15 pm


  • ladybugavenger November 23, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving Theone. May you eat so much you fall asleep at the table ?

  • John November 23, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    What are you talking about “turmoil”? It’s entertainment , The main stream media , Hollywood and politicians are all imploding from within, It’s the Jerry Springer show and who really cares? Nodody ever said that draining the swamp would be pretty. HAPPY THANKSGIVING ! enjoy the show….

  • commonsense November 23, 2017 at 8:51 pm

    I’m thankful for a year of unprecedented economic growth, full employment, new jobs, stock markets setting new highs daily. This has reduced welfare need and has pushed the GDP upward.
    There is hope that deficits may slow and with higher treasury revenues the dept may get paid down.

    This is tremendous news for America. Tax breaks will turbo charge the economy. Every time I look at my IRA statement, I thank Donald Trump. I don’t have to like his style of governing. I don’t have to like his tweets. I’m just grateful that he hasn’t put his foot on the neck of the economy like Obama did.

    America seems to be invigorated despite the left lamenting its loss of power. The whining about the election results has got to stop. The impeachment talk must stop. Liberal legislators must start to legislate and stop resisting everything Trump. The real Russian collusion must be prosecuted.
    Sexual predators must be held accountable in politics and entertainment.

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