By the President of the United States of America
At no time of year are Americans more mindful of our heritage as one Nation under God than at Thanksgiving - a day when people of every race, creed, and walk of life join in celebrating the many blessings that we have received as individuals and as a Nation. Thanksgiving is among the happiest of days because it fills our hearts with appreciation for the things that matter most: the goodness of our Creator, the love of family and friends, and, of course, the gift of life itself. In addition to giving thanks for our individual blessings, we Americans also join on this occasion in celebrating our shared legacy of freedom.
Since the earliest days of our Republic, Americans have been deeply aware of our indebtedness to the Almighty and our obligations as a people He has blessed. Even in the course of long, difficult journeys to these shores, our ancestors gratefully acknowledged the sustaining power or God - and the faithfulness they owed in return. Recognizing their quest for freedom as an enterprise no less historic than the ancient Israelites’ exodus from Egypt, John Winthrop reminded his fellow pilgrims in 1630:
Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place that we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our commission, [and] will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it … to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God.
By remaining grateful for, and faithful to, that divine commission, America has become a model of freedom and justice to the world - as our pilgrim ancestors envisioned, a shining "city upon a hill."
Ever grateful for our freedom and security, we Americans have worked to share these blessings with others, and today we rejoice in the fact that the seeds of democratic thought sown on these shores more than 300 years ago continue to blossom around the globe. Yet, even as we give thanks for the demise of imperial communism and for the current harvest of liberty throughout the world, like our ancestors we also recall our duties as stewards of this great and blessed land. As General Dwight Eisenhower said during World War II:
The winning of freedom is not to be compared to the winning of a game, with the victory recorded forever in history. Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirits of men, and so it must be daily earned and refreshed - else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die.
The liberty that we enjoy today is clearly rooted in our Nation’s Judeo-Christian moral heritage and in the timeless values that have united Americans of all religions and all walks of life: love of God and family, personal responsibility and virtue, respect for the law, and concern for others. If the American Experiment is to continue to bear fruit in generations to come, we must cultivate those values in our children and teach them, by word and example, the difference between liberty and license, between the grateful exercise of freedom and the misuse of our precious rights.
This Thanksgiving, as we reflect on our Nation’s heritage and give thanks to God for our many blessings, let us renew the solemn commitment that John Winthrop and his fellow pilgrims made more than 300 years ago. At a time when so many of the world’s peoples look to America’s example, let us stand for a liberty "to that only which is good, just, and honest." Mindful, too, that "he that gives to the poor lends to the Lord," let us reach out with generosity to persons in need - strangers who are hungry and homeless, neighbors who are sick or lonely, and loved ones who are eager for our time, attention, and encouragement.
I am both confident and grateful that - in the future, as in the past - this thanksgiving tradition will continue to bind us in appreciation of life’s greatest blessings: our families and friends, our rich heritage of freedom, and, most of all, the unchanging wisdom and presence of Almighty God.
Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 1992, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I urge all Americans to gather in their homes and in places of worship on that day to offer thanks to the Almighty for the many blessings that He has granted us as individuals and as a Nation. May we always strive to remain worthy of them.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and seventeenth.