By Woodrow Wilson, 28th president of the United States
The season again approaches when it behooves us to turn from the distractions and preoccupations of our daily life, that we may contemplate the mercies which have been vouchsafed to us, and render heartfelt and unfeigned thanks unto God for His manifold goodness. This is an old observance of the American people, deeply imbedded in our thought and habit. The burdens and the stresses of life have their own insistence. We have abundant cause for thanksgiving. The lesions of the war are rapidly healing. The great army of freemen, which America sent to the defense of Liberty, returning to the grateful embrace of the nation, has resumed the useful pursuits of peace, as simply and as promptly as it rushed to arms in obedience to the country’s call. The equal justice of our laws has received steady vindication in the support of a law-abiding people against various and sinister attacks, which have reflected only the baser agitations of war, now happily passing. In plenty, security and peace, our virtuous and self-reliant people face the future, its duties and its opportunities. May we have vision to discern our duties; the strength, both of hand and resolve, to discharge them; and the soundness of heart to realize that the truest opportunities are those of service. In a spirit, then, of devotion and stewardship we should give thanks in our hearts, and dedicate ourselves to the service of God’s merciful and loving purposes to His children. Wherefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States do hereby designate Thursday, the twenty-fifth day of November next as a day of thanksgiving and prayer, and I call upon my countrymen to cease from their ordinary tasks and avocations upon that day, giving it up to the remembrance of God and His blessings, and their dutiful and grateful acknowledgment. In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed. Done in the district of Columbia this twelfth day of November, in the year of our Lord, one thousand nine hundred and twenty, and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and forty-fifth.
A former president of Princeton University, President Wilson served in the White House from 1913-1920. During World War I, a flock of sheep grazed on the White House lawn and the money raised from the sale of wool was donated to the American Red Cross.