Gary L. Bauer
Campaign for Working Families
But giving thanks is especially important in tough times. During times of instability and peril, our minds and hearts are focused more sharply on the important things in life, the things that truly matter -- faith, family and freedom.
I love this uniquely American holiday. Thanksgiving traces its origins back to the Pilgrims -- those hardy pioneers who arrived on the shores of North America and, against all odds, carved a nation out of the wilderness. They came to the New World not seeking fortune, but in search of freedom, and, more specifically, the freedom to worship God as they wished.
Testifying to the strong religious foundation of this country, thanking God for His blessings was a routine experience in our early years. The first official National Proclamation of Thanksgiving was issued by the Continental Congress on November 1, 1777 in celebration of the victory against the British at the Battle of Saratoga. In 1941, as America confronted a world at war, Congress voted to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday.
In his first Thanksgiving proclamation as president, Ronald Reagan wrote:
In spite of the challenges we face today, I believe all of us can be thankful to be Americans. We are the descendants of the patriots who declared that "All men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
As Carol and I reflect on what we are thankful for, we thank God first for His gift of three wonderful children, two incredible sons-in-law, and four grandchildren.
We are especially thankful for the sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and for the sacrifices of their families. We are grateful that America still produces patriots who are willing to "give up their todays for our tomorrows."
And we are so very thankful for each of you. Our partnership has created bonds deeper and closer than we ever expected and blessings far beyond what we ever can express. We wish for you and your family all of God's blessings at this special time of year. And we thank you for the continued friendship and support that make possible my work in defense of our values.