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History's Happenings for November 23

Birth of President Franklin Pierce
1804

President Franklin Pierce

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First Jukebox Appears
1889

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Marines Seize Tarawa and Makin
1943

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Wartime Food Rationing Ends
1945

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Red China Gains Security Council Seat
1971

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Thanksgiving Day

An American family celebrates a traditional Thanksgiving

Declaring days of Thanksgiving is not a particularly new idea — our Puritan forebears commonly set aside time to thank God for bountiful harvests, plentiful rains, and survival in general. The fact of our existence as a nation today proves that He was listening.

On October 3, 1789, President George Washington proclaimed the first national Day of Thanksgiving, to be celebrated on that November 26th, in honor of the adoption of the new Constitution.

Encouraged by a grass-roots movement led by authoress Sarah Josepha Hale, on the same day in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclamed the last Thursday in November to be a National Day of Thanksgiving, to help bolster morale sagging under the weight of the Civil War.

After the War, Congress established Thanksgiving Day as an ongoing National Holiday.

Although this special day has had attributed to it many reasons — new government, salvation from war and famine, great victories — by the end of the nineteenth century it had become the uniquely American holiday centered around family and thanks to God for His blessings that is now recognized as its foundation.

Although it's had a lot of glitz added — football games, parades, holiday sales — these traditional meanings of Thanksgiving Day remain unchanged. We could use more such special days.




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