2007 Thanksgiving Day
THANKSGIVING DAY LUNCHEON
November 22, 2007
It is my great pleasure to be with you again this year to celebrate this very special American holiday – Thanksgiving.
Let me start by reading parts of President Bush’s Thanksgiving Day proclamation for 2007 (read second through fourth paragraph).
Our country was founded by men and women who realized their dependence on God and were humbled by His providence and grace. The early explorers and settlers who arrived in this land gave thanks for God’s protection and for the extraordinary natural abundance they found. Since the first National Day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by President George Washington, Americans have come together to offer thanks for our many blessings. We recall the great privilege it is to live in a land where freedom is the right of every person and where all can pursue their dreams. We express our deep appreciation for the sacrifices of the honorable mean and women in uniform who defend liberty. As they work to advance the cause of freedom, our Nation keeps these brave individuals and their families in our thoughts, and we pray for their safe return.
While Thanksgiving is a time to gather in a spirit of gratitude with family, friends, and neighbors, it is also an opportunity to serve others and share our blessings with those in need. By answering the universal call to love a neighbor as we want to be loved ourselves, we make our Nation a more hopeful and caring place.
This Thanksgiving, may we reflect upon the past year with gratefulness and look toward the future with hope. Let us give thanks for all we have been given and ask God to continue to bless our families and our Nation.
As the President’s words make clear, the Thanksgiving is tradition deeply rooted in our republic’s history.
It is generally recognized that first thanksgiving in what is today the United States was celebrated as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God” by a group of 38 English settlers in Virginian on December 4, 1619.
The more well know Thanksgiving was a celebration by the settlers of Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts in 1621. They thanked God for their autumn harvest and invited their Indian neighbors to join them in a meal as a way of expressing thanks for having taught them how to grow corn and catch local animals.
This tradition carried on. The first official Thanksgiving Proclamation issued in America was approved by the Continental Congress in 1777 during our revolution.
President George Washington issued a national Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789 while our capital was still in New York.
Another of our great Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, made this celebration an annual event. In 1863, in the midst of terrible civil war, Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving declaration. While acknowledging the many hardships of the ongoing conflict, Lincoln the many blessings still evident and then said:
“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.”
That tradition of humble gratitude and deep reflection is essential to the celebration of this holiday.
In that spirit, I would like to express my thanks today to all of you who honor the United States with your presence here today.
I am very grateful for the many Argentines who cherish relations between our two great republics and who work to build mutual understanding between our peoples.
I am thankful that many of you in this room and many others with whom I have had the honor of meeting and working over the past year, are committed to building bridges between Argentina and the United States and to dismantling the misunderstandings that would try to divide us.
I deeply appreciate your good will and thank you for your hard work to bring us together so we can all build a better future for Argentina and the United States.