Thanksgiving 2020: Thank you Abraham Lincoln!


Lincoln’s Civil War Thanksgiving Prayer applies today

Among the aspects of life and persons we can be thankful for this week is Abraham Lincoln!   One can add to the well-known blessings afforded us by Honest Abe is our celebration of Thanksgiving Day. 

During the dark and fearful Civil War days in 1863 he proclaimed the fourth Thursday in November as a day of national remembrance and reflection.  Within his wartime proclamation,* he intoned a prayer that we might well keep in mind today as we sit with our immediate family around the dinner table or gather in front of the Zoom camera: 

“With humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, we 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, tranquility and Union.”

As to slicing into a plump, roasted or fried turkey, according to legend, we have Abe to thank for that too.   At least one notable historian records that when Lincoln began an informal Thanksgiving celebration in his first year as president, a roasted turkey was on the table (The holiday had been inaugurated by Gen. George Washington in 1777 but never formalized as a national day.)  

As for the turkey, it was a native bird and abundant throughout the Eastern U.S. for millennia.  Even today, if one wanders the trails of Bartram’s Garden on Lindbergh Blvd., it is not uncommon to find Tom Turkey strutting nearby followed by a string of little tomlets.  

So as you dig into tomorrow’s turkey hash or bite into a sliced turkey sandwich on Sunday, give tribute to The Great Emancipator for the for these minor but tasty blessings.

(Photo:  Courtesy of

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