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A Word from Harry | November 26, 2014

A Word from Harry


Presidential Messages of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the Truman Library Institute. Because we like our turkey served with extra helpings of history, we searched the archives for Truman’s presidential messages of Thanksgiving. Enjoy these excerpts, and please pass the rolls.

1945 Thanksgiving Message

In this year of our victory, absolute and final, over German fascism and Japanese militarism; in this time of peace so long awaited, which we are determined with all the United Nations to make permanent; on this day of our abundance, strength, and achievement; let us give thanks to Almighty Providence for these exceeding blessings….

We give thanks with the humility of free men, each knowing it was the might of no one arm but of all together by which we were saved. Liberty knows no race, creed, or class in our country or in the world. In unity we found our first weapon, for without it, both here and abroad, we were doomed. None have known this better than our very gallant dead, none better than their comrade, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Our thanksgiving has the humility of our deep mourning for them, our vast gratitude to them.

1946 Thanksgiving Message

At this season, when the year is drawing to a close, tradition suggests and our hearts require that we render humble devotion to Almighty God for the mercies bestowed upon us by His goodness.

Devoutly grateful to Divine Providence for the richness of our endowment and the many blessings received, may we continue to give a good account of our stewardship by utilizing our resources in the service of mankind. May we have the vision and courage to accept and discharge honorably the responsibilities inherent in our strength by consecrating ourselves to the attainment of a better world.

I call upon the people of this Nation to observe that day by offering thanks to God for the bounties vouchsafed us, and by rededicating ourselves to the preservation of the “Blessings of Liberty” envisaged by our forefathers in the preamble to the Constitution.

1947 Thanksgiving Message

May our thanksgiving this year be tempered by humility, by sympathy for those who lack abundance, and by compassion for those in want. As we express appreciation in prayer for our munificent gifts, may we remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive; and may we manifest our remembrance of that precept by generously sharing our bounty with needy people of other nations.

Now, Therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America…proclaim Thursday, November 27, 1947, as a day of national thanksgiving; and I call upon the people of the United States of every faith to consecrate that day to thoughts of gratitude, acts of devotion, and a firm resolve to assist in the efforts being made by religious groups and other bodies to aid the undernourished, the sick, the aged, and all sufferers in war-devastated lands.

1948 Thanksgiving Message

As the traditional day of thanksgiving approaches, our thoughts incline, as in previous years, to the richness of our blessings. The spiritual endowments of our country are undiminished; we may, as always, walk as free men unafraid. Our harvests have been bountiful, our production of goods abundant. Our resources have permitted us to aid the needy and helpless of other lands.

We are privileged to participate in international efforts to advance human welfare. We are profoundly grateful for the existence of an international forum where differences among nations may be submitted to world opinion with a view to harmonious adjustment.

We pray this year not only in the spirit of thanksgiving but also as suppliants for wisdom in our approach to the problems confronting this nation. Believing in the dignity of man and his right to live in freedom and peace, we ask divine guidance in helping to safeguard these gifts for ourselves and other peoples of the earth.

1949 Thanksgiving Message

The times demand more than the wisdom of man can provide. There should be in the hearts of all good men and true a realization that as the Psalmist said: “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength.” Humbly grateful for these benefactions, may we add to our prayers of thanksgiving a plea for divine guidance of the leaders of our Nation and the leaders of all other nations in their efforts to promote peace and freedom for all men.

Now, Therefore, I, Harry S. Truman, President of the United States of America, having in mind the joint congressional resolution of December 26, 1941, which made the fourth Thursday in November a legal holiday, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 24, 1949, as Thanksgiving Day, and I urge all citizens to observe the day with reverence. Let us, on the appointed day, in our homes and in our accustomed places of worship, give thanks to Almighty God for the blessings which have signalized our lot as a Nation, and let us ask for the gift of wisdom in our striving for a better world.