32 Presidents have issued official Thanksgiving proclamations beginning with George Washington. Thanksgiving was made an official holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation began an unbroken chain of yearly thanksgiving proclamations made by U.S. Presidents.
Thanksgiving Proclamations – Barack Obama
Thanksgiving Day 2009
November 23, 2009
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
What began as a harvest celebration between European settlers and indigenous communities nearly four centuries ago has become our cherished tradition of Thanksgiving. This day’s roots are intertwined with those of our Nation, and its history traces the American narrative.
Today, we recall President George Washington, who proclaimed our first national day of public thanksgiving to be observed “by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God,” and President Abraham Lincoln, who established our annual Thanksgiving Day to help mend a fractured Nation in the midst of civil war. We also recognize the contributions of Native Americans, who helped the early colonists survive their first harsh winter and continue to strengthen our Nation. From our earliest days of independence, and in times of tragedy and triumph, Americans have come together to celebrate Thanksgiving.
As Americans, we hail from every part of the world. While we observe traditions from every culture, Thanksgiving Day is a unique national tradition we all share. Its spirit binds us together as one people, each of us thankful for our common blessings.
As we gather once again among loved ones, let us also reach out to our neighbors and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand. This is a time for us to renew our bonds with one another, and we can fulfill that commitment by serving our communities and our Nation throughout the year. In doing so, we pay tribute to our country’s men and women in uniform who set an example of service that inspires us all. Let us be guided by the legacy of those who have fought for the freedoms for which we give thanks, and be worthy heirs to the noble tradition of goodwill shown on this day.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 2009, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all the people of the United States to come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather, with gratitude for all we have received in the past year; to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own; and to share our bounty with others.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.
The President’s Weekly Address
November 26, 2009
For centuries, in peace and in war, in prosperity and in adversity, Americans have paused at this time of year to gather with loved ones and give thanks for life’s blessings. This week we carry on this distinctly American tradition. All across our country, folks are coming together to spend time with family, to catch up with old friends, to cook and enjoy a big dinner, and maybe to watch a little football in between.
As always, we give thanks for the kindness of loved ones, for the joys of the previous year, and for the pride we feel in our communities and country. We keep in our thoughts and prayers the many families marking this Thanksgiving with an empty seat saved for a son or daughter, a husband or wife stationed in harm’s way. And we say a special thanks for the sacrifices those men and women in uniform are making for our safety and freedom and for all those Americans who enrich the lives of our communities through acts of kindness and generosity and service.
But as much as we all have to be thankful for, we also know that this year millions of Americans are facing very difficult economic times. Many have lost jobs in this recession, the worst in generations. Many more are struggling to afford health care premiums and house payments, let alone to save for an education or retirement. Too many are wondering if the dream of a middle class life—that American Dream—is slipping away. It’s the worry I hear from folks across the country, good, hard-working people doing the best they can for their families but fearing that their best just isn’t good enough. These aren’t strangers. They’re our family, our friends, and our neighbors. Their struggles must be our concern.
That’s why we passed the Recovery Act that cut taxes for 95 percent of working people and for small businesses and that extended unemployment benefits and health coverage for millions of Americans who lost their jobs in this turmoil. That’s why we are reforming the health care system so that middle class families have affordable insurance that cannot be denied because of a preexisting condition or taken away because you happen to get sick. We’ve worked to stem the tide of foreclosures and stopped the decline in home values. We’re making it easier to save for retirement and more affordable to send a son or daughter to college.
The investments we’ve made and tough steps we’ve taken have helped break the back of the recession, and now our economy is finally growing again. But as I said when I took office, job recovery from this crisis will not come easily or quickly. Though the job losses we were experiencing earlier this year have slowed dramatically, we’re still not creating enough new jobs each month to make up for the ones we’re losing. And no matter what the economists say, for families and communities across this country, this recession will not end until we completely turn that tide.
So we’ve made progress, but we can’t rest. And my administration will not rest, until we’ve revived this economy and rebuilt it stronger than before, until we’re creating jobs and opportunities for middle class families, until we have moved beyond the cycles of boom and bust, of reckless risk and speculation, that led us to so much crisis and pain these past few years.
Next week, I’ll be meeting with owners of large and small businesses, labor leaders, and non-for-profit leaders from across the country to talk about the additional steps we can take to help spur job creation. I’ll work with the Congress to enact those proposals quickly. And it’s my fervent hope and my heartfelt expectation that next Thanksgiving we will be able to celebrate the fact that many of those who have lost their jobs are back at work and that as a nation we will have come through these difficult storms stronger and wiser and grateful to have reached a brighter day.
Thank you, God bless you, and from my family to yours, happy Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving Day 2010
November 23, 2010
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America
A beloved American tradition, Thanksgiving Day offers us the opportunity to focus our thoughts on the grace that has been extended to our people and our country. This spirit brought together the newly arrived Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe — who had been living and thriving around Plymouth, Massachusetts for thousands of years — in an autumn harvest feast centuries ago. This Thanksgiving Day, we reflect on the compassion and contributions of Native Americans, whose skill in agriculture helped the early colonists survive, and whose rich culture continues to add to our Nation’s heritage. We also pause our normal pursuits on this day and join in a spirit of fellowship and gratitude for the year’s bounties and blessings.
Thanksgiving Day is a time each year, dating back to our founding, when we lay aside the troubles and disagreements of the day and bow our heads in humble recognition of the providence bestowed upon our Nation. Amidst the uncertainty of a fledgling experiment in democracy, President George Washington declared the first Thanksgiving in America, recounting the blessings of tranquility, union, and plenty that shined upon our young country. In the dark days of the Civil War when the fate of our Union was in doubt, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a Thanksgiving Day, calling for “the Almighty hand” to heal and restore our Nation.
In confronting the challenges of our day, we must draw strength from the resolve of previous generations who faced their own struggles and take comfort in knowing a brighter day has always dawned on our great land. As we stand at the close of one year and look to the promise of the next, we lift up our hearts in gratitude to God for our many blessings, for one another, and for our Nation. This Thanksgiving Day, we remember that the freedoms and security we enjoy as Americans are protected by the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces. These patriots are willing to lay down their lives in our defense, and they and their families deserve our profound gratitude for their service and sacrifice.
This harvest season, we are also reminded of those experiencing the pangs of hunger or the hardship of economic insecurity. Let us return the kindness and generosity we have seen throughout the year by helping our fellow citizens weather the storms of our day.
As Americans gather for the time-honored Thanksgiving Day meal, let us rejoice in the abundance that graces our tables, in the simple gifts that mark our days, in the loved ones who enrich our lives, and in the gifts of a gracious God. Let us recall that our forebears met their challenges with hope and an unfailing spirit, and let us resolve to do the same.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 25, 2010, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all the people of the United States to come together — whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — to give thanks for all we have received in the past year, to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and to share our bounty with others.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-third day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
The President’s Weekly Address
November 25, 2010
Today, like millions of other families across America, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and I will sit down to share a Thanksgiving filled with family and friends–and a few helpings of food and football too. And just as folks have done in every Thanksgiving since the first, we’ll spend some time taking stock of what we’re thankful for: the God-given bounty of America and the blessings of one another.
This is also a holiday that captures that distinctly American impulse to give something of ourselves. Even as we speak, there are countless Americans serving at soup kitchens and food pantries, contributing to their communities, and standing guard around the world.
And in a larger sense, that’s emblematic of what Americans have always done. We come together and done what’s required to make tomorrow better than today. That’s who we are.
Consider our journey since that first Thanksgiving. We are among the world’s youngest of peoples, but time and again, we have boldly and resiliently led the way forward. Against tough odds, we are a people who endure, who explored and settled a vast and untamed continent, who built a powerful economy and stood against tyranny in all its forms, who marched and fought for equality and connected a globe with our science and imagination.
None of that progress was predestined. None of it came easily. Instead, the blessings for which we give thanks today are the product of choices made by our parents and grandparents and generations before whose determination and sacrifice ensured a better future for us.
This holiday season, we must resolve once more to do the same.
This is not the hardest Thanksgiving America has ever faced. But as long as many members of our American family are hurting, we’ve got to look out for one another. As long as many of our sons and daughters and husbands and wives are at war, we’ve got to support their mission and honor their service. And as long as many of our friends and neighbors are looking for work, we’ve got to do everything we can to accelerate this recovery and keep our economy moving forward.
And we will. But we won’t do it as any one political party. We’ve got to do it as one people. And in the coming weeks and months, I hope that we can work together, Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike, to make progress on these and other issues.
That’s why next week I’ve invited the leadership of both parties to the White House for a real and honest discussion. Because I believe that if we stop talking at one another and start talking with one another, we can get a lot done.
For what we are called to do again today isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s not about left or right. It’s about us. It’s about what we know this country is capable of. It’s about what we want America to be in this new century: a vibrant nation that makes sure its children are the best educated in the world; a healthy, growing economy that runs on clean energy and creates the jobs of tomorrow; a responsible government that reduces its deficits; an America where every citizen is able to go as far as he or she desires.
We can do all this, because we’ve done it before. We’re made of the same sturdy stuff as the travelers who first sat down to that Thanksgiving dinner, and all who came after, who worked and sacrificed and invested because they believed that their efforts would make the difference for us.
That’s who we are. We shape our own destiny with conviction and compassion and clear and common purpose. We honor our past and press forward with the knowledge that tomorrow will be better than today. We are Americans. That’s the vision we won’t lose sight of. That’s the legacy that falls to our generation. That’s the challenge that together, we are going to meet.
To every American, I am thankful for the privilege of being your President. To all our servicemembers stationed around the world, I am honored to be your Commander in Chief. And from the Obama family to yours, have a very happy Thanksgiving. Thanks.
THANKSGIVING DAY, 2011
November 24, 2011
A PROCLAMATION BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
One of our Nation’s oldest and most cherished traditions, Thanksgiving Day brings us closer to our loved ones and invites us to reflect on the blessings that enrich our lives. The observance recalls the celebration of an autumn harvest centuries ago, when the Wampanoag tribe joined the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony to share in the fruits of a bountiful season. The feast honored the Wampanoag for generously extending their knowledge of local game and agriculture to the Pilgrims, and today we renew our gratitude to all American Indians and Alaska Natives. We take this time to remember the ways that the First Americans have enriched our Nation’s heritage, from their generosity centuries ago to the everyday contributions they make to all facets of American life. As we come together with friends, family, and neighbors to celebrate, let us set aside our daily concerns and give thanks for the providence bestowed upon us.
Though our traditions have evolved, the spirit of grace and humility at the heart of Thanksgiving has persisted through every chapter of our story. When President George Washington proclaimed our country’s first Thanksgiving, he praised a generous and knowing God for shepherding our young Republic through its uncertain beginnings. Decades later, President Abraham Lincoln looked to the divine to protect those who had known the worst of civil war, and to restore the Nation “to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”
In times of adversity and times of plenty, we have lifted our hearts by giving humble thanks for the blessings we have received and for those who bring meaning to our lives. Today, let us offer gratitude to our men and women in uniform for their many sacrifices, and keep in our thoughts the families who save an empty seat at the table for a loved one stationed in harm’s way. And as members of our American family make do with less, let us rededicate ourselves to our friends and fellow citizens in need of a helping hand.
As we gather in our communities and in our homes, around the table or near the hearth, we give thanks to each other and to God for the many kindnesses and comforts that grace our lives. Let us pause to recount the simple gifts that sustain us, and resolve to pay them forward in the year to come.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 2011, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to come together whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors to give thanks for all we have received in the past year, to express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and to share our bounty with others.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.
The President’s Weekly Address
November 24, 2011
From my family to yours, I’d like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. Like millions of Americans, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, and I will spend the day eating great food, watching a little football, and reflecting on how truly lucky we are.
As Americans, each of us has our own list of things and people to be thankful for. But there are some blessings we all share.
We’re especially grateful for the men and women who defend our country overseas. To all the servicemembers eating Thanksgiving dinner far from your families: The American people are thinking of you today. And when you come home, we intend to make sure that we serve you as well as you’re serving America.
We’re also grateful for the Americans who are taking time out of their holiday to serve in soup kitchens and shelters, making sure their neighbors have a hot meal and a place to stay. This sense of mutual responsibility—the idea that I am my brother’s keeper; that I am my sister’s keeper—has always been part of what makes our country special. And it’s one of the reasons the Thanksgiving tradition has endured.
The very first Thanksgiving was a celebration of community during a time of great hardship, and we have followed that example ever since. Even when the fate of our Union was far from certain—during a Civil War, two World Wars, a Great Depression—Americans drew strength from each other. They had faith that tomorrow would be better than today.
We’re grateful that they did. As we gather around the table, we pause to remember the pilgrims, pioneers, and patriots who helped make this country what it is. They faced impossible odds, and yet somehow, they persevered. Today, it’s our turn.
I know that for many of you, this Thanksgiving is more difficult than most. But no matter how tough things are right now, we still give thanks for that most American of blessings, the chance to determine our own destiny. The problems we face didn’t develop overnight, and we won’t solve them overnight. But we will solve them. All it takes is for each of us to do our part.
With all the partisanship and gridlock here in Washington, it’s easy to wonder if such unity is really possible. But think about what’s happening at this very moment: Americans from all walks of life are coming together as one people, grateful for the blessings of family, community, and country.
If we keep that spirit alive, if we support each other and look out for each other and remember that we’re all in this together, then I know that we too will overcome the challenges of our time.
So today I’m thankful to serve as your President and Commander and Chief. I’m thankful that my daughters get to grow up in this great country of ours. And I’m thankful for the chance to do my part, as together, we make tomorrow better than today.
Thanks, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Presidential Proclamation — Thanksgiving Day, 2012
On Thanksgiving Day, Americans everywhere gather with family and friends to recount the joys and blessings of the past year. This day is a time to take stock of the fortune we have known and the kindnesses we have shared, grateful for the God-given bounty that enriches our lives. As many pause to lend a hand to those in need, we are also reminded of the indelible spirit of compassion and mutual responsibility that has distinguished our Nation since its earliest days.
Many Thanksgivings have offered opportunities to celebrate community during times of hardship. When the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony gave thanks for a bountiful harvest nearly four centuries ago, they enjoyed the fruits of their labor with the Wampanoag tribe — a people who had shared vital knowledge of the land in the difficult months before. When President George Washington marked our democracy’s first Thanksgiving, he prayed to our Creator for peace, union, and plenty through the trials that would surely come. And when our Nation was torn by bitterness and civil war, President Abraham Lincoln reminded us that we were, at heart, one Nation, sharing a bond as Americans that could bend but would not break. Those expressions of unity still echo today, whether in the contributions that generations of Native Americans have made to our country, the Union our forebears fought so hard to preserve, or the providence that draws our families together this season.
As we reflect on our proud heritage, let us also give thanks to those who honor it by giving back. This Thanksgiving, thousands of our men and women in uniform will sit down for a meal far from their loved ones and the comforts of home. We honor their service and sacrifice. We also show our appreciation to Americans who are serving in their communities, ensuring their neighbors have a hot meal and a place to stay. Their actions reflect our age-old belief that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and they affirm once more that we are a people who draw our deepest strength not from might or wealth, but from our bonds to each other.
On Thanksgiving Day, individuals from all walks of life come together to celebrate this most American tradition, grateful for the blessings of family, community, and country. Let us spend this day by lifting up those we love, mindful of the grace bestowed upon us by God and by all who have made our lives richer with their presence.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 22, 2012, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together — whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
The President’s Weekly Address
November 22, 2012
On behalf of the Obama family, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Bo, and me, I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.
For us, like so many of you, this is a day full of family and friends, food and football. It’s a day to fight the overwhelming urge to take a nap, at least until after dinner. But most of all, it’s a time to give thanks for each other and for the incredible bounty we enjoy in this country.
That’s especially important this year. As a nation, we’ve just emerged from a campaign season that was passionate, noisy, and vital to our democracy. But it also required us to make choices. And sometimes those choices led us to focus on what sets us apart instead of what ties us together; on what candidate we support instead of what country we all belong to. Thanksgiving is a chance to put it all in perspective—to remember that despite our differences, we are and always will be, Americans first and foremost.
Today we give thanks for blessings that are all too rare in this world. The ability to spend time with the ones we love, to say what we want, to worship as we please, to know that there are brave men and women defending our freedom around the globe, and to look our children in the eye and to tell them that here in America, no dream is too big, if they’re willing to work for it. We’re also grateful that this country has always been home to Americans who see these blessings not simply as gifts to enjoy, but as opportunities to give back; Americans who believe we have a responsibility to look out for those who are less fortunate, to pull each other up and move forward together.
Right now, as we prepare to gather around our dinner tables, there are families in the Northeast who don’t have that luxury. Many of them have lost everything to Hurricane Sandy—homes, possessions, even loved ones. And it will be a long time before life gets back to normal for them.
But in the midst of so much tragedy, there are also glimmers of hope. Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen FEMA personnel, National Guard, and first-responders working around the clock in hard-hit communities. We’ve seen hospital workers using their lunch breaks to distribute supplies; families offering up extra bedrooms; the fire department advertising free hot showers; buses full of volunteers coming from hundreds of miles away; neighbors sharing whatever they have—food, water, and electricity—and saying again and again how lucky they are to have a roof over their heads. It would have been easy for these folks to do nothing, to worry about themselves and leave the rest to someone else. But that’s not who we are; that’s not what we do.
As Americans, we are bold, generous, big-hearted people. When our brothers and sisters are in need, we roll up our sleeves and get to work—not for the recognition or the reward, but because it’s the right thing to do; because there but for the grace of God go I; and because here in America, we rise or fall together, as one Nation and one people. That’s something to be grateful for, today and every day.
So to all the Americans doing your part to make our world a better place, it is my great privilege to serve as your President; to all our servicemembers, it is my honor to be your Commander in Chief; and from our family to yours, happy Thanksgiving, everybody.
President Obama’s Proclamation for Thanksgiving Day 2013
26 November 2013
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
THANKSGIVING DAY, 2013
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Thanksgiving offers each of us the chance to count our many blessings — the freedoms we enjoy, the time we spend with loved ones, the brave men and women who defend our Nation at home and abroad. This tradition reminds us that no matter what our background or beliefs, no matter who we are or who we love, at our core we are first and foremost Americans.
Our annual celebration has roots in centuries-old colonial customs. When we gather around the table, we follow the example of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags, who shared the fruits of a successful harvest nearly 400 years ago. When we offer our thanks, we mirror those who set aside a day of prayer. And when we join with friends and neighbors to alleviate suffering and make our communities whole, we honor the spirit of President Abraham Lincoln, who called on his fellow citizens to “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.”
Our country has always been home to Americans who recognize the importance of giving back. Today, we honor all those serving our Nation far from home. We also thank the first responders and medical professionals who work through the holiday to keep us safe, and we acknowledge the volunteers who dedicate this day to those less fortunate.
This Thanksgiving Day, let us forge deeper connections with our loved ones. Let us extend our gratitude and our compassion. And let us lift each other up and recognize, in the oldest spirit of this tradition, that we rise or fall as one Nation, under God.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 28, 2013, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together — whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.
The President’s Weekly Address
November 28, 2013
Hi, everybody. On behalf of all the Obamas, Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Bo, and the newest member of our family, Sunny, I want to wish you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. We’ll be spending today just like many of you, sitting down with family and friends to eat some good food, tell some stories, and watch a little football, and most importantly, count our blessings.
And as Americans, we have so much to be thankful for. We give thanks for the men and women who set sail for this land nearly four centuries ago, risking everything for the chance at a better life, and the people who were already here, our Native American brothers and sisters, for their generosity during that first Thanksgiving. We give thanks for the generations who followed, people of all races and religions, who arrived here from every country on Earth and worked to build something better for themselves and for us.
We give thanks for all our men and women in uniform and for their families, who are surely missing them very much today. We’re grateful for their sacrifice too.
We give thanks for the freedoms they defend: the freedom to think what we want and say what we think; to worship according to our own beliefs; to choose our leaders and, yes, criticize them without punishment. People around the world are fighting and even dying for their chance at these freedoms. We stand with them in that struggle, and we give thanks for being free.
And we give thanks to everyone who’s doing their part to make the United States a better, more compassionate nation, who spend their Thanksgiving volunteering at a soup kitchen or joining a service project or bringing food and cheer to a lonely neighbor. That big-hearted generosity is a central part of our American character. We believe in lending a hand to folks who need it. We believe in pitching in to solve problems even if they aren’t our problems. And that’s not a 1-day-a-year belief, it’s part of the fabric of our Nation.
And we remember that many Americans need that helping hand right now: Americans who’ve lost their jobs and can’t get a new one through no fault of their own, Americans who have been trapped in poverty and just need that helping hand to climb out, citizens whose prayers and hopes move us to act.
We’re a people who are greater together than we are on our own. And that’s what today is about. That’s what every day should be about. No matter what our differences, we’re all part of one American family. We’re each other’s keepers. We are “one Nation under God.” That core tenet of our American experience has guided us from the earliest days of our founding, and it will guide us to a future that’s even brighter than today.
Thank you, God bless you, and from my family to yours, happy Thanksgiving.
Presidential Proclamation — Thanksgiving Day, 2014
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Thanksgiving Day invites us to reflect on the blessings we enjoy and the freedoms we cherish. As we gather with family and friends to take part in this uniquely American celebration, we give thanks for the extraordinary opportunities we have in a Nation of limitless possibilities, and we pay tribute to all those who defend our Union as members of our Armed Forces. This holiday reminds us to show compassion and concern for people we have never met and deep gratitude toward those who have sacrificed to help build the most prosperous Nation on earth. These traditions honor the rich history of our country and hold us together as one American family, no matter who we are or where we come from.
Nearly 400 years ago, a group of Pilgrims left their homeland and sailed across an ocean in pursuit of liberty and prosperity. With the friendship and kindness of the Wampanoag people, they learned to harvest the rich bounty of a new world. Together, they shared a successful crop, celebrating bonds of community during a time of great hardship. Through times of war and of peace, the example of a Native tribe who extended a hand to a new people has endured. During the American Revolution and the Civil War, days of thanksgiving drew Americans together in prayer and in the spirit that guides us to better days, and in each year since, our Nation has paused to show our gratitude for our families, communities, and country.
With God’s grace, this holiday season we carry forward the legacy of our forebears. In the company of our loved ones, we give thanks for the people we care about and the joy we share, and we remember those who are less fortunate. At shelters and soup kitchens, Americans give meaning to the simple truth that binds us together: we are our brother’s and our sister’s keepers. We remember how a determined people set out for a better world — how through faith and the charity of others, they forged a new life built on freedom and opportunity.
The spirit of Thanksgiving is universal. It is found in small moments between strangers, reunions shared with friends and loved ones, and in quiet prayers for others. Within the heart of America’s promise burns the inextinguishable belief that together we can advance our common prosperity — that we can build a more hopeful, more just, and more unified Nation. This Thanksgiving, let us recall the values that unite our diverse country, and let us resolve to strengthen these lasting ties.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 27, 2014, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together — whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.
The President’s Weekly Address
November 27, 2014
On behalf of the Obama family—Michelle, Malia, Sasha, Bo, and Sunny—I want to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. Like many of you, we’ll spend the day with family and friends, catching up, eating some good food, and watching a little football. Before we lift a fork, we lend a hand by going out to the community to serve some of our neighbors in need. And we give thanks for each other and for all of God’s blessings.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because, more than any other, it is uniquely American. Each of us brings our own traditions and cultures and recipes to the table, but we all share this day, united by the gratitude for the bounty of this Nation. And we welcome the contributions of all people—no matter their origin or color or beliefs—who call America home and who enrich the life of our Nation. It is a creed as old as our founding: “E pluribus unum”—that out of many, we are one.
We’re reminded that this creed, and America itself, was never an inevitability, but the result of ordinary people in every generation doing their part to uphold our founding ideals, by taking the blessings of freedom and multiplying them for those who would follow. As President Kennedy once wrote, even as we give thanks for all that we’ve inherited from those who came before us, “the decency of purpose, steadfastness of resolve and strength of will, for the courage and the humility, which they possessed,” we must also remember that “the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Today we are grateful to all Americans who do their part to live by those ideals, including our brave men and women in uniform overseas and their families, who sacrifice so much to keep America safe. To our servicemembers who are away from home, we say an extra prayer for you and your loved ones, and we renew our commitment to take care of you as well as you’ve taken care of us.
We’re grateful to the countless Americans who serve their communities in soup kitchens and shelters, looking out for those who are less fortunate and lifting up those who have fallen on hard times. This generosity, this compassion, this belief that we are each other’s keepers, is essential to who we are, not just on this day, but every day.
You know, it’s easy to focus on what separates us. But as we gather with loved ones on this Thanksgiving, let’s remember and be grateful for what binds us together: our love of country, our commitment to justice and equality, our belief that America’s best days are ahead and that her destiny is ours to shape and that our inherited ideals must be the birthright of all of our children.
That’s what today is all about: that out of many, we are one. So thank you, God bless you, and from my family to yours, happy Thanksgiving.
Presidential Proclamation — Thanksgiving Day, 2015
THANKSGIVING DAY, 2015
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
Rooted in a story of generosity and partnership, Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for us to express our gratitude for the gifts we have and to show our appreciation for all we hold dear. Today, as we give of ourselves in service to others and spend cherished time with family and friends, we give thanks for the many blessings bestowed upon us. We also honor the men and women in uniform who fight to safeguard our country and our freedoms so we can share occasions like this with loved ones, and we thank our selfless military families who stand beside and support them each and every day.
Our modern celebration of Thanksgiving can be traced back to the early 17th century. Upon arriving in Plymouth, at the culmination of months of testing travel that resulted in death and disease, the Pilgrims continued to face great challenges. An indigenous people, the Wampanoag, helped them adjust to their new home, teaching them critical survival techniques and important crop cultivation methods. After securing a bountiful harvest, the settlers and Wampanoag joined in fellowship for a shared dinner to celebrate powerful traditions that are still observed at Thanksgiving today: lifting one another up, enjoying time with those around us, and appreciating all that we have.
Carrying us through trial and triumph, this sense of decency and compassion has defined our Nation. President George Washington proclaimed the first Thanksgiving in our country’s nascence, calling on the citizens of our fledgling democracy to place their faith in “the providence of Almighty God,” and to be thankful for what is bequeathed to us. In the midst of bitter division at a critical juncture for America, President Abraham Lincoln acknowledged the plight of the most vulnerable, declaring a “day of thanksgiving,” on which all citizens would “commend to [God’s] tender care” those most affected by the violence of the time — widows, orphans, mourners, and sufferers of the Civil War. A tradition of giving continues to inspire this holiday, and at shelters and food centers, on battlefields and city streets, and through generous donations and silent prayers, the inherent selflessness and common goodness of the American people endures.
In the same spirit of togetherness and thanksgiving that inspired the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, we pay tribute to people of every background and belief who contribute in their own unique ways to our country’s story. Each of us brings our own traditions, cultures, and recipes to this quintessential American holiday — whether around dinner tables, in soup kitchens, or at home cheering on our favorite sports teams — but we are all united in appreciation of the bounty of our Nation. Let us express our gratitude by welcoming others to our celebrations and recognize those who volunteer today to ensure a dinner is possible for those who might have gone without. Together, we can secure our founding ideals as the birthright of all future generations of Americans.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 26, 2015, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together — whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.
Weekly Address: This Thanksgiving, Recognizing the Greatness of American Generosity 11/26/2015
Presidential Proclamation — Thanksgiving Day, 2016
THANKSGIVING DAY, 2016
– – – – – – –
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Nearly 400 years ago, a small band of Pilgrims fled persecution and violence and came to this land as refugees in search of opportunity and the freedom to practice their faith. Though the journey was rough and their first winter harsh, the friendly embrace of an indigenous people, the Wampanoag — who offered gracious lessons in agriculture and crop production — led to their successful first harvest. The Pilgrims were grateful they could rely on the generosity of the Wampanoag people, without whom they would not have survived their first year in the new land, and together they celebrated this bounty with a festival that lasted for days and prompted the tradition of an annual day of giving thanks.
This history teaches us that the American instinct has never been to seek isolation in opposite corners; it is to find strength in our common creed and forge unity from our great diversity. On that very first thanksgiving celebration, these same ideals brought together people of different backgrounds and beliefs, and every year since, with enduring confidence in the power of faith, love, gratitude, and optimism, this force of unity has sustained us as a people. It has guided us through times of great challenge and change and allowed us to see ourselves in those who come to our shores in search of a safer, better future for themselves and their families.
On this holiday, we count our blessings and renew our commitment to giving back. We give thanks for our troops and our veterans — and their families — who give of themselves to protect the values we cherish; for the first responders, teachers, and engaged Americans who serve their communities; and for the chance to live in a country founded on the belief that all of us are created equal. But on this day of gratitude, we are also reminded that securing these freedoms and opportunities for all our people is an unfinished task. We must reflect on all we have been afforded while continuing the work of ensuring no one is left out or left behind because of who they are or where they come from.
For generations, our Nation’s progress has been carried forward by those who act on the obligations we have to one another. Each year on Thanksgiving, the selflessness and decency of the American people surface in food banks and shelters across our country, in time spent caring for the sick and the stranger, and in efforts to empathize with those with whom we disagree and to recognize that every individual is worthy of compassion and care. As we gather in the company of our friends, families, and communities — just as the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag did centuries ago — let us strive to lift up others, promote tolerance and inclusiveness, and give thanks for the joy and love that surround all of us.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 24, 2016, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage the people of the United States to join together — whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place of fellowship for friends and neighbors — and give thanks for all we have received in the past year, express appreciation to those whose lives enrich our own, and share our bounty with others.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
twenty-third day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.
Weekly Address: Coming Together On Thanksgiving 11/24/2016