Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

On October 3, 1863, in the wake of victory at Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln decided to issue a Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday in November national Thanksgiving Day. The President's Hymn, composed in honor of the new holiday, rang out across the nation.

The President's Hymn. 1863.
Composer: Turner, J. W. (Joseph W.)
Lyricist: Muhlenberg, William Augustus, 1796-1877
Give thanks, all ye people, give thanks to the Lord,
Alleluias of freedom with joyful accord:
Let the East and the West, North and South roll along,
Sea, mountain and prairie, One thanksgiving song

Give thanks, all ye people, give thanks to the Lord,
Alleluias of freedom, with joyful accord.

For the sunshine and rainfall, enriching again
Our acres in myriads, with treasures of grain;
For the earth still unloading her manifold wealth,
For the Skies beaming vigor, the Winds breathing health.

For the nation's wide table, o'erflowingly spread,
Where the many have feasted, and all have been fed,
With no bondage, their God-given rights to enthral,
But Liberty guarded by Justice for all.

In the realms of the Anvil, the Loom and the Plow,
Whose the mines and the fields to Him gratefully bow;
His the flocks and the herds; sing ye hillsides and vales;
On His Ocean domains chant His Name with the gales.

Of commerce and traffic, ye princes behold
Your riches from Him whose the silver and gold;
Happier children of labor, true lords of the soil,
Bless the great Master-Workman, who blesseth your toil.

Brave men of our forces, Lifeguard of our coasts,
To your Leader be loyal, Yahweh of Hosts:
Glow the Stripes and the Stars aye with victory bright,
Reflecting His glory; He crowneth the Right.

Nor shall ye through our borders, ye stricken of heart,
Only wailing your dead, in the joy have no part;
God's solace be yours, and for you there shall flow
All that honor and sympathy's gifts can bestow.

In the Domes of Messiah, ye worshipping throngs,
Solemn litanies mingle with jubilant songs;
The Ruler of Nations beseeching to spare,
And our Empire still keep the Elect of His care.

Our guilt and transgressions remember no more;
Peace, Lord! righteous Peace, of Thy gift we implore;
And the Banner of Union, restored by Thy hand,
Be the Banner of Freedom o'er All in the Land.