Tomorrow my American friends will celebrate Thanksgiving. I like turkey and I have so many things that I am incredibly thankful for so it’s not hard to encourage me to want to proxy my way into their holiday. As well, a highlight of Thanksgiving is the airing of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. These last few years I have missed the parade but I always enjoy having it on in the background and maybe tomorrow I’ll try and find a way to use my iPod to watch it online. Of course another part of this holiday is the day afterward: Black Friday. For many Black Friday is the single greatest shopping day of the season and it’s when people expect those terrific deals on things they’ve convinced themselves will bring to them happiness and peace. I’ve got to admit that this year I feel a little shocked at how early some online retailers started sending out e-flyers advertising this year’s great deals. With that admission, I also have to add that I’m getting really tired of how every holiday is just becoming another excuse to shop and that more and more we’re starting to measure our role in the relationships we enjoy by the things we give each other on these “special” days. How’d the jewellery store advertise it? Let her know how much you care…
So when I logged in a couple of hours ago to work on a website I maintain for a local club I found an email in my inbox from Oso Railworks. I subscribe to their flyers and expected to find inside another promotion for this holiday. What I found instead was something different. What they wrote touched me and resonated with where I’m at right now and I just couldn’t imagine not sharing it, so here goes:
We at NorthWest Short Line would like to take a moment to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is an American holiday, but to our international friends we would like to extend the same spirit and happiness intended with the holiday.
As with other holidays, the meaning of the holiday is becoming increasingly obscure because of commercialization. The Thanksgiving holiday is, by decree, always on a Thursday, and the day after Thanksgiving has been seized upon as “Black Friday” where most retailers open their shops early, offer epic discounts for the “early-birds,” and anything else they can do to jump-start the Christmas buying season. As you might imagine, the blitz of Black Friday marketing leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday is nothing short of overwhelming, sadly obscuring the meaning of the holiday itself.
Below is the text of the official Thanksgiving proclamation by then-President George Washington, verbatim. Following is an image of the handwritten proclamation; it’s hard to read but it’s the real deal.
Oso Railworks, Inc.
Since David promised the text of that proclomation I’ll share it too:
New York, 3 October 1789
By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor– and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be– That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions– to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
David finishes his email with:
So to all our friends, world-wide, we would like to wish you a most sincere Happy Thanksgiving in the spirit in which it was intended. God bless you all.
And I agree. I’m such a lucky man. Every day I wake up in a life that I never figured I’d ever enjoy. I married the most amazing woman and we have a family that simply blows my mind every day. I am so proud of what we have done and the people we are. I have friends that inspire me so much with their talent that I can’t not try and create something new every day if only to try and express to them my gratitude for the role they play in my life. Yes, I am a lucky man. This last year more people are finding this blog and I’m flattered that so many are finding a few minutes to read what I write. I honestly only started this thing as a place to note the things that I found interesting and I think it’s neat that sometimes others find those same things interesting too.
Remember Mister Rogers?
It’s such a good feeling…
He’s right. It is. I’m going to drop David over at Oso Railworks an email. We don’t know each other but I’m grateful for his approach and he acheived something refreshing in what he shared. Maybe if you’ve got a second you could too.
Thanks folks. Take care and have a great day.