Did you know that Thanksgiving was not always celebrated universally across America? In the midst of the Civil War on October 3, 1863, President Lincoln issued a proclamation designating the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and invited all Americans to take part. "I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States …, 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 …, 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 Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union." The picture below is a sketch by artist Alfred R. Waud of Thanksgiving at a Civil War Camp in 1861.
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Photo Credit: Library of Congress