I’m preparing to leave town (and the country) early on Thanksgiving
morning, to take care of business in another North American country
(where it’s just another business day)…..and thinking in the back of my
mind of what beautiful message would be appropriate for Thanksgiving
Day in America.

Sometimes, the spontaneous works best.

While packing, I came across a little booklet to pack, and found a
hand-written note to myself inside, written for posterity when I was
inspired by a framed display in my friend Linda’s office in Chicago.

It’s a message written on an American flag, in the white spaces. She
found it framed at a flea market under the designation: “Flag Series:
Children’s penmanship lessons of the 1930’s”. It was “eamed with a 48
star flag reacalling earlier days of public education. The National
Insitute for Moral Instruction, in Washington D.C., provided the pages
for young students to copy while praciticing their skills.” (Pages? An
American flag?)

The message was simply ‘Goodness’. Here’s what the children wrote:

Keep thy tongue from evil.

Refuse to do a mean act, be it ever so small. If we would do good,
we must be good. You can do more good by being good than in any other
way.

Never excuse a wrong action by saing somone else does the same thing.

Thank God for everyone who holds core values and tries do live them.

In fact, thank God for everyone.

Here’s President Obama’s Thanksgiving Proclamation this year:

What began as a harvest celebration between European
settlers and indigenous communities nearly four centuries ago has
become our cherished tradition of Thanksgiving. This day’s roots are
intertwined with those of our nation, and its history traces the
American narrative.

Today, we recall President George Washington, who proclaimed our
first national day of public thanksgiving to be observed “by
acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of
Almighty God,” and President Abraham Lincoln, who established our
annual Thanksgiving Day to help mend a fractured nation in the midst of
civil war…

As Americans, we hail from every part of the world. While we observe
traditions from every culture, Thanksgiving Day is a unique national
tradition we all share. Its spirit binds us together as one people,
each of us thankful for our common blessings.

Lincoln’s proclamation establishing this day was key to unifying what had been separate state’s observations into one celebration.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand
worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most
High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath
nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly,
reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice
by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens
in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and
those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the
last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to
our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to
them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such
singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble
penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to
His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or
sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably
engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand
to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be
consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace,
harmony, tranquillity and Union.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....