107 STAT. 2580 PROCLAMATION 6508—NOV. 20, 1992 Since the earliest days of our Republic, Americans have been deeply aware of our indebtedness to the Almighty and our obligations as a people He has blessed. Even in the course of long, difficult joiuneys to these shores, our ancestors gratefully acknowledged the sustaining power of God—and the faithfulness they owed in return. Recognizing their quest for freedom as an enterprise no less historic than the ancient Israelites' exodus from Egypt, John Winthrop reminded his fellow pilgrims in 1630: Now if the Lord shall please to hear us, and bring us in peace to the place that we desire, then hath He ratified this covenant and sealed our conunission, [and] will expect a strict performance of the articles contained in it... to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with our God. By remaining grateful for, and faithful to, that divine commission, America has become a model of freedom and justice to the world—as our pilgrim ancestors envisioned, a shining "city upon a hill." Ever grateful for our freedom and security, we Americans have worked to share these blessings with others, and today we rejoice in the fact that the seeds of democratic thought sown on these shores more than 300 years ago continue to blossom aroimd the globe. Yet, even as we give thanks for the demise of imperial communism and for the current harvest of liberty throughout the world, like our ancestors we also recall our duties as stewards of this great and blessed land. As General Dwight Eisenhower said during World War H: The winning of freedom is not to be compared to the winning of a game, with the victory recorded forever in history. Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirits of men, and so it must be daily earned and refreshed—else like a flower cut fix)m its life-giving roots, it will wither and die. The liberty that we enjoy today is clearly rooted in our Nation's Judeo- Christian moral heritage and in the timeless values that have imited Americans of all religions and all walks of life: love of God and family, personal responsibility and virtue, respect for the law, and concern for others. If the American Experiment is to continue to bear fruit in generations to come, we must cultivate those values in our children and teach them, by word and example, the difference between liberty and license, between the grateful exercise of freedom and the misuse of oiur precious rights. This Thanksgiving, as we reflect on our Nation's heritage and give thanks to God for our many blessings, let us renew the solemn commitment that John Winthrop and his fellow pilgrims made more than 300 years ago. At a time when so many of the world's peoples look to America's example, let us stand for a liberty "to that only which is good, just, and honest." Mindful, too, that "he that gives to the poor lends to the Lord," let us reach out with generosity to persons in need—strangers who are hungry and homeless, neighbors who are sick or lonely, and loved ones who are eager for our time, attention, and encoiuragement.
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