Presidential tradition of giving thanks often ignored current crises

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November 26, 2019 - 10:50 AM

Thanksgiving is older even than the nation. And while early Thanksgivings involving Pilgrims and Indians weren’t the idealized banquets many of us learned about in school, they were days on which Americans made time for sharing, prayer and gratitude.

After the Revolutionary War and the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, George Washington was elected president. Within six months of taking office, he released a proclamation making Thursday the 26th day of November, 1789, a day of Thanksgiving.

In his proclamation, Washington noted the recent war and the “peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness.”

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