Over this long Thanksgiving weekend, Atlanta will provide many wonderful events and opportunities to celebrate this national and family holiday.
Many here in Atlanta will forego their own holiday celebration to be downtown to help prepare and to serve food to the homeless and needy through “Feed the Hungry” program.
This was a tradition started many years ago by Hosea Williams and continues to this day through those he left behind. http://www.hoseafeedthehungry.com/default.aspx
There will be the lighting of the Macy’s Tree on Thanksgiving night which will fill the air with music. And there will be the thrill of seeing all the lights go on officially kicking off the Christmas season. It will be reminiscent of the one atop the Crystal Bridge at Rich’s across Forsyth Street downtown Atlanta for so many, many years. If you would like to read about the history of that tree, you may go to: http://lodeplus.com/faith-family-in-atlanta/remembering-old-atlanta-history-of-the-great-tree-of-rich-s
But with all these great events and turkey dinners, let us not forget that there are a lot of families in Atlanta who will have an empty seat at their table this year – some due to the passing of a loved one; and others who will be serving our country all across the world.
This week the Mayor of Atlanta and the Governor of Georgia participated in the presentation of the new banners strung all across the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport welcoming soldiers who may be passing through; either coming home or leaving for their deployment destinations.
Some may think we have little to be thankful for in light of the mess our nation is in; but this is not the first time that Atlanta was suffering through war, need, and uncertainty.
Thanksgiving Day was officially declared by Abraham Lincoln in the middle of the Civil War that ended up ravaging Atlanta. He issued a proclamation as a good and true leader expressing our need to realize that even in the midst of that bloody war – there was still so much to be thankful for; and these words are just as significant today as the day he wrote them on October 3, 1863. Our nation was at war and divided then as it is now.
He reminded the people of that day as well as well as those of today – that all we have, all we are, and all we ever hope to have or be – we owe to our Almighty God.
by the President of the United States of America
October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln — “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.
Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
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.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one 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.
He could say this of our nation again today!
“And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President:
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State