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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

George Washington's October 3, 1789 national Thanksgiving Proclamation


WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
G. Washington.

President Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving Issued, October 3, 1863


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 unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to invite and provoke the aggressions of foreign States, 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 theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
The needful diversions of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship. The axe has 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 battlefield; 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 Prayer to our beneficent Father, who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him that, 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 Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
Abraham Lincoln
By the President: William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Thanksgiving Tradition



Introduction to Tradition

Charlie Brown is as traditional to Thanksgiving as turkey, pumpkin pie and football.

Speaking of football, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving begins with Lucy convincing Charlie Brown that place-kicking a football on Thanksgiving is a great honor. It usually is a great honor to be part of anything that is steeped in tradition.

But of course Charlie Brown will never kick that football; at least not as long as Lucy is the holder!

This scene serves to remind us that traditions sometimes do fade away. One of the most long-standing traditions in the world is that of Passover. It has been a part of the Jewish faith for nearly 3500 years. But it was not something that was traditionally celebrated at first – not like it is now. In fact, the Bible makes a big deal about the first couple of times that the Children of Israel actually celebrated Passover (or the Feast of Unleavened Bread) because they did NOT traditionally celebrate every year.

Traditions are important. Every family has its own traditions.

-          What are some of your family Thanksgiving traditions?


Another Holiday to Worry About

Holidays – for adults at least – can be very stressful times. Not so much for kids, although Charlie Brown is an exception. He even says clearly that Thanksgiving is “another holiday to worry about.” Charlie Brown’s worries about this particular Thanksgiving are that he has three, somewhat uninvited, guests coming for the holiday dinner. While his sister Sally offers an explanation for why this has happened – because Charlie Brown is so “wishy-washy” – there is probably a better reason. The worry that accompanies many holiday traditions comes from a need to please.

Traditions – The Need to Please

Charlie Brown has a need to please other people. This is something that is, to a certain degree, in every person. We want people to like us. We want to make other people happy. And when people have company coming over, people usually have a desire to feed them well. Charlie Brown’s dilemma is that not only does he have three guests coming for Thanksgiving dinner, his culinary prowess is limited to “cold cereal and maybe toast.”

But for all of Charlie Brown’s wishy-washiness, he is not without friends who will help him in his desperate hour. Linus, Snoopy and Woodstock will all help

Snoopy learns the lesson that with every traditional holiday there are sometimes battles to be fought. Deadlines to meet, menus to fill, gifts to be bought, cleaning, setting the table, etc. Snoopy’s battles happen to be with ping-pong tables and chaise lounges.

But soon, Snoopy orchestrates a new traditional meal.

-          What are your traditional meals for Thanksgiving?


Charlie Brown’s New Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner is:

  • Two slices of buttered toast,
  • Some pretzel sticks,
  • A handful of popcorn, and
  • A few jelly beans.

  
The Real Thanksgiving – More than Meal

Of course, Peppermint Patty is not happy with this new tradition. Oh, and by the way, Peppermint Patty is a girl. There seems to be some confusion as to that recently. She’s what used to be called a “tom-boy,” a girl who tends to do things that are more traditional for boys to do: play baseball, wear comfortable clothes, stuff like that.

Patty takes out her anger on her host, breaking his heart. Patty then is reminded what Thanksgiving is really all about. It isn’t about a meal – it is about being thankful for what you have.

You and I have plenty to be thankful for – Jesus Christ being at the top of the list. His salvation given to us as a free gift is the reason we should be thankful, especially at this time of year. Because our sins are forgiven, we can get together and get along with our family and friends. Even at what can be a stressful time of year!

But Let’s Not Forget the Meal!

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving closes with a reminder that while the real Thanksgiving is more than a meal, we should not forget the meal!

It doesn’t have to be turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. It can be salmon steaks with oyster sauce. It can be PP&J’s with cold milk.

But each meal is important, so much so that the Bible refers to heaven as a banquet, a feast to come.

So this Thanksgiving, as you gather around a meal with your family and friends, remember to give God thanks for all His gifts to you, number one of which is Jesus Christ! Don’t let the holiday stress you out, enjoy it and help others to enjoy it and give thanks.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank a Vet - Repost from 2012

Stephen Ambrose, Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have done a great service to my generation and those younger in that they remind us why we are free to blog, make movies, vote, travel, and live as we do.
Their books, movies, and TV series bring to life the men and women who fought, bled, and some who died, to keep us free. Band of Brothers, the Pacific, Citizen Soldiers, etc. all tell a story - a true story - that needs to be told to us and our children.
But I also thank another author by the name of Marcus Brotherton. He has brought to the forefront some of the men that didn't make it to the forefront of those other men's stories. Brotherton tells the stories of Shifty PowersEd Pepping, Earl "One Lung" McLung, Forest Guth and others. They were just as much heroes as Richard WintersBill Guarnere, and Buck Compton - and Winters, Guarnere and Compton would be the first to tell you that.
Recently I met another hero of World War II - my word, not his. In fact, he seems to think his service to be no big deal. I'm sure no one would ever write a book or make a movie about his war exploits. But what he did was no less important than anyone else's contribution to the war effort.
His name is Daniel Brown. As far as I know he never fired a rifle in combat, never even saw a battle. Brown served in the Army Air Force as a mechanic - specifically responsible for B-29's. When not serving in the States, he was stationed in Panama. No battles were fought there. But of course, the Panama Canal was of vital strategic importance.
Dan Brown left his wife Betty and all his family to serve in the Army Air Force. He knew that going into battle was a distinct possibility. But go he did because our country needed defending. He put aside his own comforts and dreams - for a time - to do the job that needed doing. That is what a leader does. Dan Brown continues to lead today and is teaching me what it means to be a leader and a true man.
"Doc" Brown and all those who served -whether in battle, in support, or in the states - deserve our recognition and thanks. I love spending an hour or two with him and his wife, Betty, as they tell stories of the war years and after. "Doc" Brown came home to his wife, started a family, lived his life in the freedom that he served to protect.  He went on to become a cop and later a chiropractor. Betty was a dancer and musician. Both were - and are, today - active in their church and share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone they meet.
Just two of the wonderful people we should all thank on this Veterans Day.
So stop a vet today, tell him or her thanks. After all, you owe them a lot!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Happy Birthday United States Marine Corps

Note: This is a re-post from last year (2012).
Edward Schiffmann Wear joined the United States Marines during World War II and was sent to the Pacific Theater. He was the brother of Irene Wear – my grandmother. He died during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The story is told in my family that as he died, he was praying the Lord’s Prayer with a chaplain.
Achieving the rank of Corporal in the 9th Marines Regiment, my great uncle answered the call of his country to defend her freedom against an aggressor nation.
He was one of the 6,812 Americans killed or missing on Iwo Jima.
A man I never met who died long ago and far away continues to have a tremendous impact on my life. My mother still talks about him to this day. She has been sharing stories of her memories of him with me the last couple of days. Yet, I still hardly know anything about him. I don’t know what his favorite food was. I don’t know what he thought of being the youngest to three sisters. I don’t know how he felt about living in the city of Chicago but spending his summers on Long Lake.
In spite of this I still feel tremendously proud, and humbled at the same time, that I am part of his family.
The Battle of Iwo Jima was one of the most important battles in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. It has become iconic of the sacrifice, determination and leadership that United States Marines personify in today’s world.
Called by some the “Greatest Generation,” most of the men and women who answered their country’s call to fight in World War II did so not for glory or fame, but to do a job that needed to be done. They came from all walks of life. Some, like my great uncle, from humble beginnings. Many, again like my great uncle, went to war never to return to the United States alive.
But as far as I am concerned, they did not die in vain. They died, in part, for me. They died for you and for all Americans as well as for all peace- and freedom-loving people around the world. They made the ultimate sacrifice so that I could be free to worship, work, play, and live as I choose.
In this way, they are a lot like Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ laid down His life so that others – the world, in fact – could be free from sin, death, and the power of the devil. Jesus Christ personifies the United States Marines motto – Semper Fidelis – “Always Faithful.”
United States Marines have been protecting these freedoms longer than there has been a United States. Formed on November 10, 1775 in Philadelphia, men and women who served as U.S. Marines have been making sure that the United States is protected from those who would take our freedom away.
Happy Birthday, United States Marines. May God always bless and protect you as you are always faithful to corps and country.
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