You might already know that it was Abraham Lincoln who first encouraged Americans "to set apart and observe the last [now, the fourth] Thursday of November as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."
It was October 3, 1863, and President Lincoln celebrated that the Union had enjoyed a significant degree of peace and prosperity, even in the middle of "a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity." "No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things," wrote the president. "They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy."
As it was originally conceived, Thanksgiving was bound up with three virtues: gratitude, humility and empathy. In addition to urging prayers of gratitude to God, he recommended that Americans, out of the aforementioned spirit of "humble penitence," also "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."
President Lincoln did not perform the silly act of pardoning a turkey, as many of our past presidents have done. To President Lincoln, this would be a solemn holiday. So, let this Thursday be something more like what Abraham Lincoln had in mind: an occasion to turn away from the future and choose to remember the past year with gratitude, to turn away from pride and see your limitations more clearly, and to turn away from selfishness and recommit to service and reconciliation.
From all the members and staff of the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce, we hope you enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving. Our office will be closed Thursday and Friday of this week. However, we will have the Grant County Conference Center open on Saturday for another Holiday Gift Market, as well as a baby shower.
If you have questions or need information, our address is 3031 Highway 180 East in Silver City. Or you can call our office at (575) 538-3785.