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Monday, November 22, 2010

A Thanksgiving Grace, 1936

If you are at a loss for a grace to say over the bird, and you are somewhat literary inclined, then this post will be a memorable one—otherwise you may disregard it and you will have lost nothing. And I am not being facetious.

When I read this many years ago, I made a mental note to read it on every Thanksgiving, and to share it with others.

“In 1976, the governor of Connecticut, Ella Grasso, had the pleasant idea of reissuing the Thanksgiving Proclamation written 40 years earlier by Governor Wilbur Cross, which she called it ‘‘“a masterpiece of eloquence.”’ –William Zinsser

Time out of mind at this turn of the seasons when the hardy oak leaves rustle in the wind and the frost gives a tang to the air and the dusk falls early and the friendly evenings lengthen under the heel of Orion, it has seemed good to our people to join together in praising the Creator and Preserver, who has brought us by a way that we did not know to the end of another year. In observance of this custom, I appoint Thursday, the twenty-sixth of November, as a day of Public Thanksgiving for the blessings that have been our common lot and have placed our beloved State with the favored regions of earth—for all the creature comforts: the yield of the soil that has fed us and the richer yield from labor of every kind that has sustained our lives—and for all those things, as dear as breath to the body, that quicken man's faith in his manhood, that nourish and strengthen his word and act; for honor held above price; for steadfast courage and zeal in the long, long search after truth; for liberty and for justice freely granted by each to his fellow and so as freely enjoyed; and for the crowning glory and mercy of peace upon our land—that we may humbly take heart of these blessings as we gather once again with solemn and festive rites to keep our Harvest Home.
. . .
Indeed a masterpiece. I am thankful to be living in one of the favored regions of earth. I am also thankful for the English language, and its words when gracefully strung together.

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