Knew How to Give Thanks
Thanksgiving is upon us, and readers may enjoy this 1911 Thanksgiving proclamation by William Howard Taft. Careful readers will notice that Taft issued the proclamation from Chicago and not Washington D.C., the source of his three other Thanksgiving Proclamations. Just two days earlier, Taft had dedicated the training facility at Naval Station Great Lakes, located in North Chicago. A photograph of cadets in review before President Taft can be found here, courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society.
The people of this land having by long sanction and practice set apart toward the close of each passing year a day on which to cease from their labors and assemble for the purpose of giving praise to Him who is the author of the blessings they have enjoyed, it is my duty as Chief Executive to designate at this time the day for the fulfillment of this devout purpose.
Our country has been signally favored in many ways. The round of the seasons has brought rich harvests. Our industries have thrived far beyond our domestic needs; the productions of our labor are daily finding enlarged markets abroad. We have been free from the curses of pestilence, of famine and of war. Our national councils have furthered the cause of peace in other lands, and the spirit of benevolence has brought us into closer touch with other peoples, to the strengthening of the bonds of fellowship and good will that link us to our comrades in the universal brotherhood of nations. Strong in the sense of our own rights and inspired by as strong a sense of the rights of others, we live in peace and harmony with the world. Rich in the priceless possessions and abundant resources wherewith the unstinted bounty of God has endowed us, we are unselfishly glad when other peoples pass onward to prosperity and peace. That the great privileges we enjoy may continue and that each coming year may see our country more firmly established in the regard and esteem of our fellow nations is the prayer that should arise in every thankful heart.
Wherefore I, William Howard Taft, President of the United States, designate Thursday, the 30th day of November next, as a day of thanksgiving and prayer, and I earnestly call upon my countrymen and upon all that dwell under the flag of our beloved country then to meet in their accustomed places of worship to join in offering prayer to Almighty God and devout thanks for the loving mercies He has given to us.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Chicago, this 30th day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eleven and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and thirty-sixth.