Dear People of Low’s,
Constance and I were privileged to visit Mount Vernon, the home of our nation’s first President, George Washington, in September. It is a fascinating place to tour. There is not only the main house but also many out buildings, beautiful grounds, and a state-of-the art museum. Mt. Vernon also gives detailed history of the enslaved workers without whom George Washington’s properties and businesses would not have been profitable. Unlike many other of his fellow Founders who were slaveholders (and who also supported the eventual abolition of slavery), Washington made provision in his will that his slaves be emancipated, as well as given some resources for their care and wellbeing, following his death. A year after Washington’s death his slaves were freed, with many remaining in the vicinity of Mt. Vernon.
It isn’t well known that our first President established the first Thanksgiving celebration of the new nation. He did this by proclamation October 3, 1789, declaring Thursday, November 26, be marked as a “national day of thanks”. It wasn’t until 1941, however, that Thanksgiving was made a legal holiday. Still, Washington’s proclamation makes clear the original purpose of the day—to give thanks to God for the benefits our nation has enjoyed, and pray that it would be a beacon of freedom to the peoples of the world. It is worth reading Washington’s Proclamation as we prepare for our own Thanksgiving celebrations later this month.
God loves you and so do I,
Pastor John Mark