This year’s Thanksgiving season finds an estimated 20 million people hungry. Not since World War II has there been so much suffering in the world.
Storms, floods, droughts and earthquakes have taken a staggering toll. Political crises have added to the misery. In Hong Kong alone there are said to be some 1,000,000 refugees. An estimated 5,568,000 have fled Communist countries of eastern Europe since World War II.
In contrast, the U. S. horn of plenty was running over, despite more than 3,000,000 unemployed (strikers excluded). A record crop of 82 million turkeys is bringing farmers more than 320 million dollars during 1959.
As a representative national gesture of gratitude, and to perpetuate a tradition far older than the country itself, President Eisenhower issued the annual Thanksgiving proclamation. The first such proclamation to set aside the last Thursday of November was issued in 1863, one of the darkest years in U. S. history. Actual observance of a day of thanks dates back to an order handed down by Governor Bradford of Plymouth colony in 1621 and affirmed by George Washington in 1789.
“The time of harvest turns our thoughts once again to our national festival of Thanksgiving,” began the President’s proclamation for 1959, “and the bounties of nature remind us again of our dependence upon the generous hand of Providence.”
Here is the remainder of the proclamation:
“In this sesquicentennial year of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, it is fitting and proper that we should use his words contained in the historic proclamation of 1863, establishing this annual observance, to express anew our gratitude for America’s ‘fruitful fields,’ for our national ‘strength and vigor,’ and for all our ‘singular deliverances and blessings.’
“The present ...1
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