The first official American Thanksgiving Proclamation was issued by the Continental Congress in 1777. Six more were made over the next thirty years, however after 1815 no more Thanksgiving Proclamations were issued until the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, who made two during the Civil War. Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a federal holiday as a “prayerful day of Thanksgiving” on the last Thursday in November.
Among the words of his October 3, 1863 proclamation were "No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy" and "It has seemed to me fit and proper that they ['gracious gifts from God'] should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. 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."
I know that I for one have much to be grateful and thankful for, including the kind words sent to me from those who have enjoyed my books and this blog. Here's hoping that all of you have an enjoyable holiday and that we all give thanks in our own way.