Truly Thanksgiving is an essential component of our American Legacy. The very first official Thanksgiving of the free and independent United States was appointed for December 18, 1777, by the Congress assembled in Philadelphia. General Washington and his army, encamped at the “Gulph” near Valley Forge, in the midst of hardships and meager supplies, joined their countrymen on the appointed day.
Twelve years later Philadelphia joined in the national Thanksgiving that was proclaimed immediately after the Bill of Rights were sent by Congress to the states for ratification. Other Thanksgivings followed here and there until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation setting aside the last Thursday in each November for a national observance of “Thanksgiving and Praise.”