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President Roosevelt's 1942 Thanksgiving Proclamation

My grandparents -- and the entire family -- loved President Roosevelt His oratory inspired them and they believed his economic policies brought us out of the Depression. He appointed many Jews to high ranking government positions, making us feel that we were accepted as full Americans. In an era of Nazi atrocities, my grandparents were grateful that the president lobbied as hard as he could to join the fight against the evil of Nazism. It never occurred to them that he would ignore the plight of European Jewry, who were being murdered in great numbers while American bombers flew right over Auschwitz. Nevertheless, Roosevelt's words remain a source of inspiration on this Thanksgiving Weekend.

A Thanksgiving Proclamation

Franklin D. Roosevelt

32nd U.S. President

November 26, 1942

"It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord." (Psalm 92:1)

Across the uncertain ways of space and time our hearts echo those words, for the days are with us again when, at the gathering of the harvest, we solemnly express our dependence upon Almighty God. The final months of this year, now almost spent, find our Republic and the Nations joined with it waging a battle on many fronts for the preservation of liberty.

In giving thanks for the greatest harvest in the history of our Nation, we who plant and reap can well resolve that in the year to come we will do all in our power to pass that milestone; for by our labors in the fields we can share some part of the sacrifice with our brothers and sons who wear the uniform of the United States.

It is fitting that we recall now the reverent words of George Washington, "Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy Protection," and that every American in his own way lift his voice to heaven. I recommend that all of us bear in mind this great Psalm:

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. "He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." (Psalm 23)

Inspired with faith and courage by these words, let us turn again to the work that confronts us in this time of national emergency: in the armed services and the merchant marine; in factories and offices; on farms and in the mines; on highways, railways, and airways; in other places of public service to the Nation; and in our homes.

Now, Therefore, I, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States of America, do hereby invite the attention of the people to the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day; and I request that both Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1942, and New Year's Day, January 1, 1943, be observed in prayer, publicly and privately.

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