Thursday, November 26, 2015


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1778


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Because President John F. Kennedy served such a short time in office, he was able to enjoy only two Thanksgiving Days as Chief Executive.

The first fell on November 23, 1961 and the second fell on November 22, 1962. JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, just 6 days before Thanksgiving Day 1963.

Before leaving for Texas, on November 19, 1963, President Kennedy ceremonially pardoned a turkey in the Rose Garden of the White House.

The first National Proclamation of Thanksgiving was issued by the Continental Congress in November 1777 and the first Thanksgiving Day celebrated under the new Constitution of the United States fell on November 26, 1789, 226 years ago today.  President George Washington proclaimed it "a day of public thanksgiving and prayer."

In his final Presidential proclamation for Thanksgiving Day 1963, President Kennedy declared...

"Much time has passed since the first colonists came to rocky shores and dark forests of an unknown continent, much time since President Washington led a young people into the experience of nationhood, much time since President Lincoln saw the American nation through the ordeal of fraternal war--and in these years our population, our plenty and our power have all grown apace. 

Today we are a nation of nearly 200 million souls....a nation enjoying the fruits of an ever-expanding agriculture and industry and achieving standards of living unknown in previous history.  We give our humble thanks for this.

Let us therefore proclaim our gratitude to Providence for manifold blessings--let us be humbly thankful for inherited ideals and let us resolve to share those blessings and those ideals with our fellow human beings throughout the world."


Presidential Proclamation 3560, John F. Kennedy, November 5, 1963, The American Presidency Project,

Thanksgiving at the White House 1963,

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth
by Jennie A. Brownscombe (1914)
Stedelijk Museum, De Lakenhal