"Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds." — Theodore Roosevelt
President Roosevelt established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day by the following Proclamation:
Proclamation 466 - Thanksgiving Day, 1901 November 2, 1901
By the President of the United States of America
The season is nigh when, according to the time-hallowed custom of our people, the President appoints a day as the especial occasion for praise and thanksgiving to God.
This Thanksgiving finds the people still bowed with sorrow for the death of a great and good President. We mourn President McKinley because we so loved and honored him; and the manner of his death should awaken in the breasts of our people a keen anxiety for the country, and at the same time a resolute purpose not to be driven by any calamity from the path of strong, orderly, popular liberty which as a nation we have thus far safely trod.
Yet in spite of this great disaster, it is nevertheless true that no people on earth have such abundant cause for thanksgiving as we have. The past year in particular has been one of peace and plenty. We have prospered in things material and have been able to work for our own uplifting in things intellectual and spiritual. Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us; and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips and shows itself in deeds. We can best prove our thankfulness to the Almighty by the way in which on this earth and at this time each of us does his duty to his fellow men.
Now, Therefore, I, Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States, do hereby designate as a day of general thanksgiving Thursday, the 28th of this present November, and do recommend that throughout the land the people cease from their wonted occupations, and at their several homes and places of worship reverently thank the Giver of all good for the countless blessings of our national life.
In Witness 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 second day of November, A. D. 1901, and of the Independence of the United States the one hundred and twenty-sixth.
By the President:
Secretary of State.
I mention this quote and proclamation this Thanksgiving weekend because it echos a philosophy on Leadership we should aspire. Roosevelt does not say just to celebrate privately. He says to celebrate by public expression of gratitude, and not just with words, but with actions. Roosevelt was a man of deep convictions and above all a man of action. Essentially he says, “Be thankful, but do something about it.” The best way to express our gratitude is not to utter words but to live by them.
Thanksgiving after all, is a word of action.
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