Thanksgiving Proclamations – Lyndon B. Johnson

Thanksgiving Proclamations

31 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 – Lyndon B. Johnson

LBJ Thanksgiving

Statement by the President: Thanksgiving Day.
November 26, 1963

ONE of the last messages of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy to his fellow countrymen was the Thanksgiving Day Proclamation which he issued on November 4, 1963. I urge that his proclamation be read in the churches of the United States in their services on November 28 as a memorial to him. I also ask that the newspapers and the television and radio stations make it available to all of the American people by including it in their recognition of this first and most solemn of our holidays.

We dedicate Thanksgiving Day, as we have for over 300 years, as a day to give thanks to God for His gifts and the sustenance which He has provided in undertaking the tasks of our Nation.

The President’s Thanksgiving Day Address to the Nation.
November 28, 1963

My fellow Americans:

On yesterday I went before the Congress to speak for the first time as President of the United States.

Tonight, on this Thanksgiving, I come before you to ask your help, to ask your strength, to ask your prayers that God may guard this Republic and guide my every labor.

All of us have lived through 7 days that none of us will ever forget. We are not given the divine wisdom to answer why this has been, but we are given the human duty of determining what is to be, what is to be for America, for the world, for the cause we lead, for all the hopes that live in our hearts.

A great leader is dead; a great Nation must move on. Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or to lose. I am resolved that we shall win the tomorrows before us. So I ask you to join me in that resolve, determined that from this midnight of tragedy, we shall move toward a new American greatness.

More than any generation before us, we have cause to be thankful, so thankful, on this Thanksgiving Day. Our harvests are bountiful, our factories flourish, our homes are safe, our defenses are secure. We live in peace. The good will of the world pours out for us.

But more than these blessings, we know tonight that our system is strong–strong and secure. A deed that was meant to tear us apart has bound us together. Our system has passed–you have passed–a great test. You have shown what John F. Kennedy called upon us to show in his proclamation of this Thanksgiving: that decency of purpose, that steadfastness of resolve, and that strength of will which we inherit from our forefathers. What better conveys what is best for America than this?

On Saturday, when these great burdens had been mine only hours, the first two citizens to call upon me and to offer their whole support were Dwight D. Eisenhower and Harry S. Truman.

Since last Friday, Americans have turned to the good, to the decent values of our life. These have served us. Yes, these have saved us. The service of our public institution and our public men is the salvation of us all from the Supreme Court to the States. And how much better would it be, how much more sane it would be, how much more decent and American it would be if all Americans could spend their fortunes and could give their time and spend their energies helping our system and its servants to solve your problems instead of pouring out the venom and the hate that stalemate us in progress.

I have served in Washington 32 years — 32 years yesterday. I have seen five Presidents fill this awesome office. I have known them well and I have counted them all as friends–President Herbert Hoover, President Franklin Roosevelt, President Harry Truman, President Dwight Eisenhower, and President John Kennedy.

In each administration the greatest burden that the President had to bear had been the burden of his own countrymen’s unthinking and unreasoning hate and division.

So, in these days, the fate of this office is the fate of us all. I would ask all Americans on this day of prayer and reverence to think on these things.

Let all who speak and all who teach and all who preach and all who publish and all who broadcast and all who read or listen-let them reflect upon their responsibilities to bind our wounds, to heal our sores, to make our society well and whole for the tasks ahead of us.

It is this work that I most want us to do: to banish rancor from our words and malice from our hearts; to close down the poison spring of hatred and intolerance and fanaticism; to perfect our unity north and south, east and west; to hasten the day when bias of race, religion, and region is no more; and to bring the day when our great energies and decencies and spirit will be free of the burdens that we have borne too long.

Our view is outward, our thrust is forward, but we remember in our hearts this brave young man who lies in honored eternal rest across the Potomac. We remember him; we remember his wonderful and courageous widow that we all love. We remember Caroline and John and all the great family who gave the Nation this son and brother.

And to honor his memory and the future of the works he started, I have today determined that Station No. 1 of the Atlantic Missile Range and the NASA Launch Operation Center in Florida shall hereafter be known as the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

I have also acted today with the understanding and the support of my friend, the Governor of Florida, Farris Bryant, to change the name of Cape Canaveral. It shall be known hereafter as Cape Kennedy.

On this Thanksgiving Day, as we gather in the warmth of our families, in the mutual love and respect which we have for one another, and as we bow our heads in submission to divine providence, let us also thank God for the years that He gave us inspiration through His servant, John F. Kennedy.

Let us today renew our dedication to the ideals that are American. Let us pray for His divine wisdom in banishing from our land any injustice or intolerance or oppression to any of our fellow Americans whatever their opinion, whatever the color of their skins–for God made all of us, not some of us, in His image. All of us, not just some of us, are His children.

And, finally, to you as your President, I ask that you remember your country and remember me each day in your prayers, and I pledge to you the best within me to work for a new American greatness, a new day when peace is more secure, when justice is more universal, when freedom is more strong in every home of all mankind.

Thank you and good night.

PROCLAMATION 3627 : THANKSGIVING DAY.
NOVEMBER 13, 1964
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION :
As the harvest season draws to a close and our storehouses bulge with the bounty of the land, it is our desire to observe, in the custom and tradition of our forebears, a special day dedicated to giving thanks to God – a day on which to lay aside our daily tasks and cares and pay joyous homage to Him. We are impelled to raise our voices in His praise and to proclaim our heartfelt gratitude for another year in which we have been blessed with a bountiful harvest, with intellectual, humanitarian, economic, scientific, and technical advances and achievements, and with other gains too numerous to mention.
Although we have been blessed with unsurpassed prosperity, we recognize that poverty and want exist throughout the world – even among us – and we pledge ourselves to the eradication of those evils.
We know, too, that the foundation for a peaceful world is still to be built and that even now armed strife exists in parts of the world. We are saddened that gallant men of our Armed Services have fallen in the eternal quest for peace with freedom, dignity, and justice for all. We share with their bereaved families and friends a sense of tragic loss. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, we resolve “that these honored dead shall not have died in vain,” and vow that their loss will spur us ever onward until man’s great dream of universal peace is realized.
Yet we are filled with an instinctive impulse to give thanks for

our free society of free men, free institutions, and free elections;
our freedom of speech, our freedom of the press, and our freedom to worship as our conscience dictates;
our emphasis upon the dignity, equality, and worth of man;
our humanitarian instincts;
our unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;
our confidence in our ability to meet the challenges of today and of the future.

For these are the things that set us apart as a Nation – that made our Nation great – that will keep our Nation great.
So as our forefathers in Virginia, in New England, and throughout this land have done for more than three and one-half centuries, let us appoint a special day on which all of us, in keeping with the dictates of our own conscience, will give thanks to the Lord for His manifold blessings. And on that day, let us rededicate ourselves to meeting the challenges of the present with the fortitude and faith with which our forefathers met the challenges of the past.
Now, THEREFORE, I, LYNDON B. JOHNSON, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of the Congress approved December 26, 1941, 55 Stat. 862 (5 U.S.C. 87b), designating the fourth Thursday of November in each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 1964, as a day of national thanksgiving.
On that day, let us gather in our homes and in our places of worship and in other suitable places to give thanks to God for His graciousness and His generosity to us – to pledge to Him our everlasting devotion – to beseech His divine guidance and the wisdom and strength to recognize and follow that guidance – and to pray to Him that the forces of evil, violence, indifference, intolerance, and inhumanity may soon vanish from the face of the earth and that peace, reason, understanding, and good-will may reign supreme throughout the world.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this thirteenth day of November in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-ninth.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON

Thanksgiving Day Message to Members of the Armed Forces.
November 25, 1964
TODAY all Americans thank the blessings of the Lord for the bounty of their land. In homes at peace, in houses of worship that are untouched by rancor or anger, families are gathered in gratitude for all that God has given them and for the blessings that He has rained upon our Nation.

Many of you will not be with your families today. Nearly all of you will be far from your homes and your friends and the land that you now defend. But all of us here at home remember you with gratitude. We owe much to those who over centuries have stood the long, hazardous, and often lonely vigil of freedom around the world. Our twin blessings of peace and abundance have always rested on those who were willing to risk, whatever the danger, and to sacrifice, whatever the cost, for the freedom of America.

Those same blessings depend upon you today. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by a small group of valiant pioneers. They were beset by the harshness of nature and the hazards of enemies. Behind them lay a year of heavy toil. Ahead lay the uncertainties of the New England winter. Yet, they thanked in sincere joy the God who had permitted them to survive the year and reap the harvest, and brought them to a place where a man could hope to be free.

Today we are prosperous and mighty beyond the farthest imagining of those men and women. Yet, we mark the same glad and humbling ritual. It reminds us that freedom is always in the midst of peril, that democracy is a goal and not an achievement. Peace comes only to those who work for it and are ready to defend it, and the rewards of the world are at the mercy of that just Providence who has thus far seen fit to bless this land.

For that we give thanks and pray that we may continue to deserve His blessings.

THANKSGIVING DAY, 1965. PROCLAMATION 3687. DATED NOVEMBER 10, 1965.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
For all the blessings that have been bestowed upon our nation during the past twelve months, it is a small thing to give thanks to Almighty God.
When the pilgrims first observed Thanksgiving nearly 350 years ago, life was harsh and unrelenting. Cold and sickness had diminished their ranks. Their shelter was crude. Their future was uncertain. Yet when their harvest was abundant, they considered themselves blessed – and their hearts were filled with gratitude.
Today we have much more than an abundant harvest. Our nation is rich and strong and united in the cause of liberty and justice. Our physical comforts are unmatched anywhere in the world. Our medicine has conquered ancient diseases.
In the past year we have added greatly to that national legacy. We have guaranteed the right to vote to all our citizens. We have pledged dignity to our elderly – even in sickness. We have added new dimensions to the education of our youth. We have broadened the horizons of opportunity for our poor. And all the while, we have enjoyed the greatest prosperity in history.
But our real blessings lie not in our bounty. They lie in those steadfast principles that the early pilgrims forged for all generations to come : the belief in the essential dignity of man; the restless search for a better world for all; and the courage – as shown by our sons in Viet Nam today – to defend the cause of freedom wherever on earth it is threatened.
These are the eternal blessings of America. They are the blessings which make us grateful even when the future is uncertain. They are the blessings which give us the strength to complete the unfinished tasks that remain before us.
For these blessings should we thank God most of all.
Now, THEREFORE, I, LYNDON B. JOHNSON, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the Joint Resolution of the Congress approved December 26, 1941, 55 Stat. 862 (5 U.S.C. 87b), designating the fourth Thursday of November in each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 25, 1965, as a day of national thanksgiving.
On that day, let us gather in our homes and in our places of worship to thank God for His generosity. Let us make ourselves worthy of that generosity by pledging to Him our everlasting devotion. And let us pray to Him that the forces of violence, indifference and intolerance may soon vanish from the face of the earth so that peace and understanding and love may reign supreme.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this tenth day of November in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninetieth.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON

The President’s Thanksgiving Day Message to Members of the Armed Forces.
November 24, 1965
TODAY Americans of all faiths gather in their homes and places of worship to give thanks for the blessings of our great land.

Not least in their minds and their hearts will be prayers for the valiant members of our Armed Forces, at home and abroad. We ask of God that He watch over you and give you strength.

The bounty of our land has always been great. It has allowed us to grow and prosper. Our fields are rich. Our cities are vibrant. Our industry and technology have brought to each generation a better way of life. These are the blessings of America.

But there are other blessings as well-and perhaps the greatest is the blessing of freedom. This we cherish above all, for it gives meaning to all the others. And for this we must sacrifice if we wish to enjoy all the rest.

A man does not inherit freedom as he inherits the land.

A man can plow a field, but it will not make him free.

He can harvest a crop, but it will not make him free.

He can build a mansion, but it will not make him free.

To each generation belongs the task of advancing freedom; of guarding it jealously; of nurturing it; of strengthening its institutions. To each generation belongs the task of defending it in its hour of need.

Today you are the guardians and defenders of that freedom in such an hour.

Many of you are spending this Thanksgiving away from your families. Many of you serve under fire in a lonely and dangerous land. Some of your comrades have fallen. We, the people of this Nation, want you to know that our thoughts are with you.

Today we do not march in support of your unfinished task. We carry no placards to bolster your cause. We sign no petitions to show you our unity.

But we do much more. Today we raise our voices in a single prayer of thanks for your courage and your dedication.

And that is the most powerful voice of all.

 

PROCLAMATION 3752, THANKSGIVING DAY, 1966.
OCTOBER 18, 1966.
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
They came in tiny wooden ships. On an unknown and alien shore, they planted and built, settled and survived. Then they gave solemn thanks to God for His goodness and bounty. America, well over 300 years ago had its first Thanksgiving Day.
For many years your Presidents have had the opportunity to proclaim Thanksgiving Day, to address themselves to the American people, to remind us of the blessings we enjoy and the thanks that we owe.
If we consider the fervor with which those colonists in Virginia and Massachusetts gave thanks, when they had so little, we are taught how much deeper should our thanks be – when we have so much.
Never, in all the hundreds of Thanksgiving Days, has our nation possessed a greater abundance, not only of material things, but of the precious intangibles that make life worth living, never have we been better fed, better housed, better clothed. Never have so many Americans been earning their own way, and been able to provide their families with the marvelous products of a momentous age.
Nor has America ever been healthier, nor had more of her children in school and in college. Nor have we ever had more time for recreation and refreshment of the spirit, nor more ways and places in which to study and to enrich our lives through the arts.
Never have our greatest blessings – our freedoms – been more widely enjoyed by our people. Nor have we ever been closer to the day when every American will have an equal opportunity and an equal freedom.
No, we do not yet have peace in the world. Our men are engaged again, as they have been on so many other Thanksgivings, on a foreign field fighting for freedom, but we can be thankful for their strength that has always kept our liberty secure. We can be thankful for our science and technology that helps to guard our America.
Thanks are better spoken by deed rather than word. Therefore, it behooves a grateful America to share its blessings with our brothers abroad, with those who have so little of the abundance that is ours.
Simple justice and a concern for our fellow man require that we be ready to offer what we can of our food, our resources, our talents, our energies, our skills, and our knowledge to help others build a better life for themselves.
We should thank God that we are able.
Let us, therefore, in this splendid American tradition, thank Him who created us and all that we have. Let us do so with a firm resolve to be worthy of His abundance blessings. Let us assemble in our homes and in our places of worship, each in his own way.
Let us thank God for the America we are so fortunate to know.
Now, THEREFORE, I, LYNDON B. JOHNSON, President of the United States of America, in consonance with Section 6103 of Title of the United States Code designating the fourth Thursday of November in each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 1966, as a day of national thanksgiving.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this seventeenth day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-first.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON

PROCLAMATION 3819, THANKSGIVING DAY, 1967.
NOVEMBER 9, 1967
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
The first American tradition grew out of gratitude for survival.
It began – long before independence was a dream – with families responding to an even deeper human impulse. They had suffered the rigors of winter in a new world – and they had endured. They put aside their plows and thanked God for the harvest’s bounty.
Over the years, we have made Thanksgiving a unique national occasion. Thanking God for His goodness, we thank Him as well for the promise and the achievement of America.
Our reasons for gratitude are almost without number. We are grateful for the endurance of our government for one hundred and eighty years. We are grateful that the founding fathers planned so wisely for the generations that followed them. We are grateful for a material abundance beyond any mankind has ever known. In our land, the harvests have been good.
Much as we are grateful for these material and spiritual blessings, we are conscious, in this year, of special sorrows and disappointments. We are engaged in a painful conflict in Asia, which was not of our choosing, and in which we are involved in fidelity to a sacred promise to help a nation which has been the victim of aggression. We are proud of the spirit of our men who are risking their lives on Asian soil. We pray that their sacrifice will be redeemed in an honorable peace and the restoration of a land long torn by war.
We are grateful for the tremendous advances which have been made in our generation in social justice and in equality of opportunity, regardless of racial background. But we are saddened by the civil strife which has occurred in our great cities.
Recognizing the trials we have endured and are enduring, I have turned to the Thanksgiving Proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. President Lincoln faced, with equal emphasis, both the blessings and the sorrows of the people.
He recommended to his fellow citizens 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.”
In a similar spirit I ask my fellow citizens to join their thankfulness with penitence and humility. Let us implore Almighty God that, to all our other blessings, He may add the blessings of wisdom and perseverance that will lead us to both peace and justice, in the family of nations and in our beloved homeland.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, LYNDON B. JOHNSON, President of the United States of America in consonance with Section 6103 of title 5 of the United States Code designating the fourth Thursday of November in each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 23, 1967 as a day of national thanksgiving.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of November in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-second.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON

PROCLAMATION 3881, THANKSGIVING DAY, 1968.
NOVEMBER 15, 1968
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A PROCLAMATION
Americans, looking back on the tumultuous events of 1968, may be more inclined to ask God’s mercy and guidance than to offer Him thanks for his blessings.
There are many events in this year that deserve our remembrance, and give us cause for thanksgiving:

the endurance and stability of our democracy, as we prepare once more for an orderly transition of authority;
the renewed determination, on the part of millions of Americans to bridge our divisions;
the beginning of talks with our adversaries, that will, we pray, lead to peace in Vietnam;
the increasing prosperity of our people, including those who were denied any share in America’s blessings in the past;
the achievement of new breakthroughs in medical science, and new victories over disease.

These events inspire not only the deepest gratitude, but confidence that our nation, the beneficiary of good fortune beyond that of any nation in history, will surmount its present trials and achieve a more just society for its people.
In this season, let us offer more than words of thanksgiving to God. Let us resolve to offer Him the best that is within us – tolerance, respect for life, faith in the destiny of all men to live in peace.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, LYNDON B. JOHNSON, President of the United States of America, in consonance with Section 6103 of title 5 of the United States Code designating the fourth Thursday of November in each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 28, 1968 as a day of national thanksgiving.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and ninety-third.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON

 

 

Thanksgiving Proclamation

 

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *