George Washington in his first Presidential Proclamation: “It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.” — October 3, 1789

Samuel Adams, father of the American Revolution: “It is therefore recommended … to set apart Thursday the eighteenth day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise, that with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts and consecrate themselves to the service of their divine benefactor …” — November 1, 1777 (adopted by the 13 states as the first official Thanksgiving Proclamation)

Abraham Lincoln, during the Civil War: “We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown.” — 1863

Sir John Templeton: “How wonderful it would be if we could help our children and grandchildren to learn thanksgiving at an early age. Thanksgiving opens the doors. It changes a child’s personality. A child is resentful, negative—or thankful. Thankful children want to give, they radiate happiness, they draw people.”

Albert Schweitzer: “To educate yourself for the feeling of gratitude means to take nothing for granted, but to always seek out and value the kind that will stand behind the action. Nothing that is done for you is a matter of course. Everything originates in a will for the good, which is directed at you. Train yourself never to put off the word or action for the expression of gratitude.”

William Faulkner: “Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.”

Seneca Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy: “Our Creator shall continue to dwell above the sky, and that is where those on earth will end their thanksgiving.”

Anne Frank: “I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you and be happy.”

Theodore Roosevelt: “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.” — 1901

John Fitzgerald Kennedy: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

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