Proclamation 1539—Thanksgiving Day, 1919
By the President of the United States of America
The season of the year has again arrived when the people of the United States are accustomed to unite in giving thanks to Almighty God for the blessings which He has conferred upon our country during the twelve months that have passed. A year ago our people poured out their hearts in praise and thanksgiving that through divine aid the right was victorious and peace had come to the nations which had so courageously struggled in defense of human liberty and justice. Now that the stern task is ended and the fruits of achievement are ours, we look forward with confidence to the dawn on an era where the sacrifices of the nations will find recompense in a world at peace.
But to attain the consummation of the great work to which the American people devoted their manhood and the vast resources of their country they should, as they give thanks to God, reconsecrate themselves to those principles of right which triumphed through His merciful goodness. Our gratitude can find no more perfect expression than to bulwark with loyalty and patriotism those principles for which the free peoples of the earth fought and died.
During the past year we have had much to make us grateful. In spite of the confusion in our economic life resulting from the war we have prospered. Our harvests have been plentiful, and of our abundance we have been able to render succor to less favored nations. Our democracy remains unshaken in a world torn with political and social unrest. Our traditional ideals are still our guides in the path of progress and civilization.
These great blessings, vouchsafed to us, for which we devoutly give thanks, should arouse us to a fuller sense of our duty to ourselves and to mankind to see to it that nothing that we may do shall mar the completeness of the victory which we helped to win. No selfish purpose animated us in becoming participants in the world war, and with a like spirit of unselfishness we should strive to aid by our example and by our cooperation in realizing the enduring welfare of all peoples and in bringing into being a world ruled by friendship and good will.
Wherefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, hereby designate Thursday, the twenty-seventh day of November next, for observance as a day of thanksgiving and prayer by my fellow-countrymen, inviting them to cease on that day from their ordinary tasks and to unite in their homes and in their several places of worship in ascribing praise and thanksgiving to God the Author of all blessings and the Master of our destinies.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done in the District of Columbia this 5th day of November in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and nineteen, and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and forty-fourth.
By the President:
Secretary of State.
Woodrow Wilson, Proclamation 1539—Thanksgiving Day, 1919 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/206677