Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year since 1863. Although observed initially in 1777 for the original 13 colonies, George Washington called for a repeat of the holiday in 1789 for the newly created United States. In the following years until 1815, Thanksgiving was observed periodically and then disappeared from public consciousness.
Just prior to the Civil War, Thanksgiving experienced a resurgence when 30 states and 2 territories joined Sarah Josepha Hale’s Thanksgiving Cause. Sarah’s goal was to establish a day where the entire nation paused to show gratitude and thanks for its many blessings. Unfortunately, once the Civil War started, it once again faded into the background although smaller days were observed throughout the war.
It wasn’t until April 13, 1862 that Thanksgiving would once again make an official appearance. It was on this day that President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving in honor of victories at Fort Henry, Fort Shiloh, and Fort Donelson.
Then, in 1863, Lincoln declared 2 separate Thanksgivings, one on August 6, 1863 in honor of Gettysburg and the second being Lincolns official declaration of Thanksgiving as a national holiday to be observed on the last Thursday of every November,
In 1864, Lincoln once again made an official declaration that Thanksgiving would be observed on the last Thursday in November of every year, beginning a yearly tradition that continues today, 150 years later.
“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.”
– from Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving, October 3, 1863
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, take the time to be with family and friends and remember to be thankful for the things you have. Although we are officially closed for the holiday, 24/7 emergency response will still be available.