COLUMN: A reason to celebrate Thanksgiving

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FRANK SANDAGE, Guest Columnist

In my long study of our American Civil War, I have come to understand the reasons for a Thanksgiving holiday.

On Oct. 3, 1863, just after the Union Army won battles at Vicksburg, Miss., and Gettysburg, Pa., Abraham Lincoln issued a presidential proclamation designating the last Thursday of November. “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficient father who dwelleth in the heaven.”

Lincoln proclaimed the holiday in response to numerous appeals by Sarah Joseph Hale, editor of a popular women’s magazine Lady’s Book and an advocate for a national thanksgiving holiday since 1827.

Lincoln’s proclamation was stated as follows: “The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with blessing of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected  and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theatre of military conflict, while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.”

Sandage is a Tell City native who is currently working on a book on the involvement  of Perry Countians in the Civil War.