Happy Thanksgiving From Outside The Beltway!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at OTB!

It was 155 years ago that President Abraham Lincoln set forth the precedent that led to the fourth Thursday in November being declared a National Day of Thanksgiving with this Proclamation:

The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature that they can not fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict, while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, 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 for such singular deliverances and blessings 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 the divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 3d day of October, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.


And here’s the Proclamation issued this year by President Trump:

On Thanksgiving Day, we recall the courageous and inspiring journey of the Pilgrims who, nearly four centuries ago, ventured across the vast ocean to flee religious persecution and establish a home in the New World. They faced illness, harsh conditions, and uncertainty, as they trusted in God for a brighter future. The more than 100 Pilgrims who arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts, on the Mayflower, instilled in our Nation a strong faith in God that continues to be a beacon of hope to all Americans. Thanksgiving Day is a time to pause and to reflect, with family and friends, on our heritage and the sacrifices of our forebearers who secured the blessings of liberty for an independent, free, and united country.

After surviving a frigid winter and achieving their first successful harvest in 1621, the Pilgrims set aside 3 days to feast and give thanks for God’s abundant mercy and blessings. Members of the Wampanoag tribe who had taught the Pilgrims how to farm in New England and helped them adjust and thrive in that new land shared in the bounty and celebration. In recognition of that historic event, President George Washington, in 1789, issued a proclamation declaring the first national day of thanksgiving. He called upon the people of the United States to unite in rendering unto God our sincere and humble gratitude “for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country” and “the favorable interpositions of his Providence.” President Abraham Lincoln revived this tradition as our fractured Nation endured the horrors of the Civil War. Ever since, we have set aside this day to give special thanks to God for the many blessings, gifts, and love he has bestowed on us and our country.

This Thanksgiving, as we gather in places of worship and around tables surrounded by loved ones, in humble gratitude for the bountiful gifts we have received, let us keep in close memory our fellow Americans who have faced hardship and tragedy this year. In the spirit of generosity and compassion, let us joyfully reach out in word and deed, and share our time and resources throughout our communities. Let us also find ways to give to the less fortunate whether it be in the form of sharing a hearty meal, extending a helping hand, or providing words of encouragement.

We are especially reminded on Thanksgiving of how the virtue of gratitude enables us to recognize, even in adverse situations, the love of God in every person, every creature, and throughout nature. Let us be mindful of the reasons we are grateful for our lives, for those around us, and for our communities. We also commit to treating all with charity and mutual respect, spreading the spirit of Thanksgiving throughout our country and across the world.

Today, we particularly acknowledge the sacrifices of our service members, law enforcement personnel, and first responders who selflessly serve and protect our Nation. This Thanksgiving, more than 200,000 brave American patriots will spend the holiday overseas, away from their loved ones. Because of the men and women in uniform who volunteer to defend our liberty, we are able to enjoy the splendor of the American life. We pray for their safety, and for the families who await their return.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 22, 2018, as a National Day of Thanksgiving. I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.


If you’re looking for something to do today between the parades, football, and streaming of whatever show you might be watching, you can always watch the best sit-com Thanksgiving episode ever. As James Joyner noted this morning, the classic WKRP In Cincinnati episode “Turkeys Away!” turns forty this year. Here’s the full episode (albeit inside a smaller than ideal screen):

Additionally, as in the past, few real posts today absent major earth-shattering news, and probably not even then. However, in keeping with the political spirit of what we do here, I must once again share these classic clips from The West Wing

First, President Bartlet pardons a turkey:

Second, the great Joe Bethersonton calls the Butterball Hotline:

Finally, what I consider the second-best Thanksgiving-themed sitcom episode ever from our friends at Cheers.

I’ve long thought that this is what it would be like if the OTB Commentariat got together for dinner. Except there would be more booze.

In any case, enjoy the day, or the long weekend as the case may be. We’ll be back tomorrow, and in the meantime consider this an open thread to complain about that crazy uncle or the NFL officials.

FILED UNDER: Open Forum, , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. mattbernius says:

    Happy thanksgiving to everyone.

    And thank you to our hosts — Doug, Steven, and of course James as the founder of the feast — for your great articles and for giving us knuckleheads a forum to vent our collective spleens and pontificate on a wide range of topics we’re not really qualified to talk about!

  2. Kathy says:

    I miss the days when on Thanksgiving, Americans set aside their differences and came together to root against the Dallas Cowboys…

    But I’m grateful I haven’t come across the expression”Turkey Day” lately.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    P.S. The Leon Lett clip in the game against Miami is always worth re-watching.

  3. CSK says:

    A commentariat dinner sounds like fun. I’ll bring cranberry-pecan-sausage stuffing and a couple of bottles of 2013 old vine zinfandel.

  4. Moosebreath says:

    Have a happy Thanksgiving, one and all.

  5. Mister Bluster says:

    And for all these reasons I have decided to scalp you and burn your village to the ground!
    Addam’s Family Values Thanksgiving Scene

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:


  7. James Pearce says:

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 22, 2018, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.

    Kinda was gonna celebrate anyway, but thanks, dude, thanks for that…

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. MarkedMan says:

    I’m hoisting a glass right now in a toast to you all…

  9. Mister Bluster says:
  10. JohnSF says:

    Hoisting a dram of Balvennie 12yr to the good health of you all ( and Just nutha ignint cracker in particular). Cheers!

  11. Barry says:

    Thank you, Doug!

  12. Kathy says:

    Given increased levels of rather frantic travel around this holiday, it seems most appropriate that airlines are closer than ever, with two glaring exceptions, of making passengers feel like the stuffing inside of a turkey.

  13. Ol Nat says:

    Happy belated to all!

    Thank you team for sharing your thoughtful analysis throughout the year!