A Coolidge Thanksgiving

Writing in his daily newspaper column, “Calvin Coolidge Says”, on Nov. 26, 1930, Calvin Coolidge succinctly expressed his thoughts about Thanksgiving. Not surprisingly, he stressed the spiritual importance of the holiday:

Thanksgiving is not only a holiday, it is a holy day. It is by no means enough to make it an occasion for recreation and feasting. Thanks are not to be returned merely to ourselves or to each other. The day is without significance unless it has a spiritual meaning. For more than three centuries our people have felt the need of celebrating the harvest time as a religious rite by offering thanks to the Creator for all their earthly blessings. There can be no true Thanksgiving without prayer.

If at any time our rewards have seemed meager, we shall find our justification for Thanksgiving by carefully comparing what we have with what we deserve. The little band of Pilgrims who first established this institution on the shore by Plymouth Rock had no doubts. If their little colony of devoted souls, when exiled to a foreign wilderness by persecution, cut in half by disease, surrounded by hostility and threatened by famine, could give thanks how much more should this great nation, less deserving than the Pilgrims yet abounding in freedom, peace, security and plenty, now have faith to return thanks to the author of all good and perfect gifts.

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