Proclamation 3944 – Thanksgiving Day, 1969


On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln invited his fellow citizens to “set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of Thanksgiving..” This was the year of the battle of Gettysburg and of other major battles between Americans on American soil. To many, this call for a national day of Thanksgiving must have seemed strange, coming as it did at a time of war and bitterness.

Yet Lincoln knew that the act of thanksgiving should not be limited to time of peace and serenity. He knew that it is precisely at those times of hardship when men most need to recognize that the Source of all good constantly bestows His blessings on mankind.

Today, despite our material wealth and well-being, Americans face complex problems unknown before in our nation’s history. In giving thanks today, we express gratitude for past bounty and we also confidently face the challenges confronting our own nation and the world because we know we can rely on a strength greater than ourselves.

This year, let us especially seek to rekindle in our respective hearts and minds the spirit of our first settlers who valued freedom above all else, and who found much for which to be thankful when material comforts were meager. We are, indeed, a most fortunate people.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, RICHARD NIXON, President of the United States of America, in consonance with Section 6103 of Title 5 of the United States Code designating the fourth Thursday of November in each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 27, 1969, as a day of national thanksgiving.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twelfth day of November, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred sixty-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-fourth.


And, because America was at war, the President issued a separate message to the Armed Forces:

Thanksgiving Day Message to the Armed Forces.

THE PILGRIMS at Plymouth had good reason to express their gratitude to God on that first Thanksgiving Day nearly three and a half centuries ago. Those who enjoyed the abundance of that first harvest had survived in a wilderness where suffering and want were their constant companions. Their faith in God’s mercy was strengthened and sustained in spite of hardship.

Throughout our history, Americans have celebrated this day in both a spiritual and festive fashion, rejoicing in the blessings bestowed upon them by our Creator. Among these, for which we are indeed grateful, is our precious heritage of freedom which you today protect and defend wherever you may serve. Your admirable contribution to our national security insures that this heritage will be preserved.

This Thanksgiving Day provides an ideal occasion for all Americans to acknowledge and give thanks for the courage, devotion to duty, and the loyalty you have demonstrated in service to our nation.