These rights are not a guarantee of happiness, but rather a right to pursue it in ways that are unique to each of us.
For that we should be grateful.
The Pilgrims are often credited with holding the first Thanksgiving in 1621. President George Washington signed the Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789.
But President Abraham Lincoln deserves credit for making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday we now enjoy.
At the height of the Civil War, in September 1863, Lincoln issued a proclamation that declared Nov. 28, 1863, to be Thanksgiving. He noted the many changes and the growth of a nation even at a time when it was at war with itself.
"No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any
mortal hand worked out these great things," Lincoln wrote. "They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy."
A nation that in the midst of war still remembers its blessings is a very great nation.