In 1863 as the Civil War continued to rage and the very existence of our Union remained in doubt, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation establishing the last Thursday of November as a national Day of Thanksgiving. President Lincoln reminded the American people that even in those dark days there was much in our national life to appreciate, and this message is worth repeating as our nation confronts a new set of challenges in this new century.
This Thanksgiving Day, as we give thanks for the blessings of family and friends and the bounty of the harvest season, let us remember those who are serving our nation overseas and the families with an empty seat at their holiday table. I also hope this uniquely American holiday will be an opportunity to recognize that what unites us as Americans is far more important than what divides us. God Bless America.