Happy Thanksgiving

I may seem early with my greetings but it’s only by 14 minutes. Thanksgiving Day has almost arrived here in Amsterdam. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, of course, the great American holiday of Thanksgiving won’t be celebrated in this country. However, I don’t need a day on a calendar or a certain location to define when and where I celebrate this truly great event. May every day be a day of Thanksgiving-a day where we express our thanks and gratitude to God and to the many people who mean so much to us. May we never fail to be grateful for our incredible blessings and the benefits that have come to us year after year. We have much to be thankful for-and I truly am so very much so.

I won’t be having a traditional feast tomorrow. There’s no denying the fact that I will miss the gastronomic joy of the day. However, I will miss gathering around the table with family more than anything. I try not to get emotional about these kind of things. If I had to grieve over every important day that I’ve had to be away from my family on the east coast or in the midwest, well, then I’d be grieving way too often in life. However, I’m fully aware that my gifts also require a certain giving and a commitment to my work which does indeed carry me away from many of my blessings. I just have to remember that the blessings are indeed still there-even if I’m not.

I will have an orchestra rehearsal tomorrow instead of hearing the bands play in the great parades back home. Instead of gorgeous floats, I’ll be seeing wonderful sets and theatrical magic. And instead of seeing characters disguised as enormous balloons floating over New York City, I’ll be seeing characters on stage acting out an incredible story of freedom and the triumph of good over evil (one guess as to who is Mr. Evil once again in this production of “Fidelio”). As for the football, well, I should be home from rehearsal early enough to see the Cowboys and Lions hopefully lose.

So, as now there are only 4 minutes until Thanksgiving Day (I guess I’m typing slowly tonight), let me wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and post this wonderful proclamation made in 1863.

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day
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 unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, 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 theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.  Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had 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 battle-field; 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 Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.   And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him 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, tranquillity 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.
A. Lincoln