Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Proclamation 2009

At the Statehouse Concord, New Hampshire

As a member of an Hispanic family I need to remind everyone that the first recorded North American Thanksgiving was not in Plymouth, although we are celebrating the Separatist's Harvest feast, nor was it held in Jamestown (as some Virginians claim), it was actually held on 30 April 1598 by Spaniard Don Juan de Oñate and his followers near today’s El Paso, Texas. As a member of the Mayflower Society I remind you that tradition holds that we do venerate and celebrate the history of the 1621 harvest feast in Plymouth on the third Thursday of November every year as the American holiday of Thanksgiving.

And so, this morning, at the New Hampshire Statehouse in Concord, our Governor Lynch signed the annual Thanksgiving Proclamation. The New Hampshire Mayflower Society Governor Dean Dexter drew up the wording, and Deputy Governor John Payzant of New Castle, and yours truly, Captain Heather Rojo of Londonderry were there for the photo opportunity and handshake. The Mayflower Society’s role is to honor the memory of our Plymouth ancestors and to fulfill this mission through genealogical research and promoting our colonial history.

All this so you can enjoy your day off next week, and officially have your turkey dinner!


WHEREAS, In the autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate the plentiful harvest they reaped following their first winter in North America, and

WHEREAS, the first national Thanksgiving Day, proclaimed by President George Washington, was November, 26, 1789, and President Abraham Lincoln, proclaimed the first annual national holiday in 1863, establishing as the date the last Thursday of November at the behest of nationally celebrated editor and author, and daughter of New Hampshire, Sarah Josepha Hale; and

WHEREAS, on Thanksgiving Day, New Hampshire citizens and all Americans come together to enjoy the fellowship of family and friends with a feast that symbolizes the many blessings in our lives; and

WHEREAS, while Thanksgiving is a time to gather in a spirit of gratitude with family, friends, and neighbors, it is also an opportunity to serve others and to share our blessings with those in need; and

WHEREAS, as citizens we pause to consider our good fortune as residents of this Great State, we are especially mindful of the heroic men and women serving in our Armed Forces, especially those serving abroad;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, John Lynch, Governor of the State of New Hampshire, do recognize and celebrate November 26, 2009 as


and encourage the people of New Hampshire to pray or reflect on their own and give thanks for the rich blessings of our State and our Nation.

In WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the State of New Hampshire

John Lynch

DONE at the Capitol in Concord in the Executive Chambers on this Eighteenth day of November in the year Two Thousand and Nine.

Sources: The New Mexico Genealogical Society “First Thanksgiving”

“The Last Conquistador: Juan de Oñate and the Settling of the Far Southwest” by Marc Simmons. University of Oklahoma Press, 1991, pp. 97-101.

“History of Plymouth Plantation”, by William Bradford, circa 1650

painting of the "Acion de Gracias" and Juan de Oñate

Copyright 2009, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

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