Thanksgiving Thanks from Knife Rights

George Washington Thanksgiving
George Washington Thanksgiving, Image Arnold Friberg Fine Arts

Gilbert, AZ –-( Most agrarian based cultures around the world have celebrations giving thanks for a good harvest and that was the theme early in our nation’s history as well.

That changed in 1777 when the Continental Congress declared a holiday in celebration of a victory during the Revolutionary War.

Most of us don’t associate George Washington with Thanksgiving, however our first President was also the first one to proclaim Thursday, November 26, as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin” in 1789. This proclamation did not involve a good harvest, rather it was to be a public day of “Thanksgiving and Prayer.” In it, Washington called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the Constitution.  (View the original proclamation document — Read the text of Washington’s proclamation)

Thanksgiving Proclamation

[New York, 3 October 1789]

Page Image.
By the President of the United States of America, a 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 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 which we experienced 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 hath 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 shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease 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 1789.

Go: Washington

Sometimes it is more difficult to be thankful than others, but when we reflect on President Washington’s proclamation, we still have plenty to be thankful for. Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate the good fortune we have to be enjoying the freedoms we have, however imperfectly they may be manifested at times. I am thankful that despite occasional frustrating setbacks, we are still moving things forward on many fronts, both in our personal life and in our fight for a Sharper Future. Many folks the world round cannot say that.

The expression, “don’t let the turkeys get you down,” seems especially appropriate this time of year. It’s too easy to focus on the bad things and forget the good. Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on those good things. So, enjoy the turkey and all the trimmings, the friends and family and gain strength from the knowledge that we are truly blessed, however it may seem at times. Remember President Washington, enjoy the holiday, gain strength and we’ll fight anew afterwards.

Wishing you and yours a safe and bountiful Thanksgiving. — Doug Ritter

Knife Rights ( is America’s Grassroots Knife Owners Organization, working towards a Sharper Future for all knife owners. Knife Rights is dedicated to providing knife owners an effective voice in public policy. Become a Knife Rights member and make a contribution to support the fight for your knife rights. Visit