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To Whom Do We Give Thanks?

(by Newt Gingrich)

Posted 11/25/2009 ET

On the south side of the Rotunda in the United States Capitol Building is a painting titled “The
Embarkation of the Pilgrims”. The painting depicts the deck of the ship as it departs from Holland for the
New World in 1620. Look, and you will see that the pilgrims are praying. A rainbow rises on the left
side of the painting, symbolizing hope and divine protection.

The faith in God that the pilgrims exhibited on embarkation from the old world became thankfulness to
the same God on disembarkation in the New World. This is the origin of the day of Thanksgiving we
celebrate this week. We give thanks, not merely to one another, or to some undefined spiritual force, but
to God.

It doesn’t mean we’re all Christians. It means we’re Americans; lucky citizens of a nation uniquely
rooted in faith in our Creator.

Tomorrow We Give Thanks to the God of Washington and Lincoln.

To whom will we give thanks tomorrow?

To the God whom George Washington, in the first national Thanksgiving Day proclamation in 1789,
called on all Americans to “unite to render unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and

To the God to whom Abraham Lincoln looked in the midst of the Civil War as he made Thanksgiving an
annual national holiday in 1863: “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.”

Tomorrow we give thanks to the Creator who is the source of our sovereignty.

We pause in gratitude to He who has endowed us with the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness. And just as no government has granted these rights, no government can legitimately take
them away. This is the freedom the pilgrims prayed for, Washington fought for and Lincoln stood for.

As important as it is to give thanks tomorrow is to remember, as Americans have before us, to whom we
give thanks. May you and your family have a happy, healthy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Your friend,