Proclamation 508—Thanksgiving Day, 1903
The season is at hand when according to the custom of our people it fails upon the President to appoint a day of praise and thanksgiving to God.
During the last year the Lord has dealt bountifully with us, giving us peace at home and abroad and the chance for our citizens to work for their welfare unhindered by war, famine or plague. It behooves us not only to rejoice greatly because of what has been given us, but to accept it with a solemn sense of responsibility, realizing that under Heaven it rests with us ourselves to show that we are worthy to use aright what has thus been entrusted to our care. In no other place and at no other time has the experiment of government of the people, by the people, for the people, been tried on so vast a scale as here in our own country in the opening years of the 20th Century. Failure would not only be a dreadful thing for us, but a dreadful thing for all mankind, because it would mean loss of hope for all who believe in the power and the righteousness of liberty. Therefore, in thanking God for the mercies extended to us in the past, we beseech Him that He may not withhold them in the future, and that our hearts may be roused to war steadfastly for good and against all the forces of evil, public and private. We pray for strength, and light, so that in the coming years we may with cleanliness, fearlessness, and wisdom, do our allotted work on the earth in such manner as to show that we are not altogether unworthy of the blessings we have received.
Now, Therefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, do hereby designate as a day of general thanksgiving Thursday, the twenty-sixth of the coming November, and do recommend that throughout the land the people cease from their wonted occupations, and in their several homes and places of worship render thanks unto Almighty God for his manifold mercies.
In Witness 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 31st day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and three and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-eighth.
By the President:
Secretary of State.
Theodore Roosevelt, Proclamation 508—Thanksgiving Day, 1903 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/206206