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In 1789, President George Washington proclaimed the first National Day of Thanksgiving. He wrote: “Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey His will … I do recommend … Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November … to be devoted by the People of these United States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.” Washington continued: “that we may … humbly offer our prayers … to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national … transgressions.”

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