Happy Thanksgiving


In a fascinating editorial, ’Lincoln and a Wartime Thanksgiving’, Stephen McLean, author of the editorial, sheds insights on how Thanksgiving became a national holiday. 

From The Duke Company’s family to yours, we wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We remain grateful to serve you and the opportunity to earn your trust.  To our incredible customers, thank you!

Mr. McLean offers insight on how Thanksgiving became a National Holiday and writes:

“Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863”, via a proclamation from President Lincoln “urging gratitude amid Civil War woes”.

“In early spring of that year, the war that had split the United States seemed destined for a disastrous outcome. Union defeats throughout 1862, culminating with the horrific loss at Fredericksburg, demonstrated the nation’s precarious position. President Lincoln struggled to address the military and political challenges confronting the country. 

Yet Lincoln was also concerned with the soul of his nation. He gave voice to the convictions that lead to the creation of Thanksgiving in two proclamations. The first was on March 30, and in it he sought to share with his countrymen his sense of personal humility, calling for a national day of “Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer”: 

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved, these many years, in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. 

“We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace, and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us; and we have vainly imagined in the deceitfulness of our hearts that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. 

“Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” 

That summer proved to be the turning point in the Civil War, with Union victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg. Though the rebellion appeared to be receding, Lincoln was under no illusions. Enormous risks and challenges lay ahead. The war’s end was nowhere in sight, but once it had ended, as Lincoln would later observe in the Gettysburg Address, the “great task,” the “unfinished work” would need to start with reuniting a nation. 

Amid the signs of promise in 1863, it was time to thank the God whom Lincoln credited for both personal and national success. In October, the president issued an invitation asking all Americans to join him in expressing gratitude for their deliverance. He also asked that amid their celebration, people request God’s grace for the families who had borne the worst of the brutal war. 

In his proclamation establishing the Thanksgiving national holiday, President Lincoln said: 

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God. . . . 

“I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged.” 

On Thanksgiving, President Lincoln’s thoughts are worth recalling in a nation grown more prosperous and powerful than the 16th president could have ever envisioned. They are particularly relevant when so many of its sons, daughters and their families still bear the burden of protecting democracy, and when on the home front so many are anxious about the direction of the country and the economy. 

Amid happy and grateful Thanksgiving celebrations, we would do well to reflect also that the United States remains, as it was in Lincoln’s time, a nation with a boundless capacity for renewal. 

Mr. McLean is a partner in Arsenal Capital Partners, a private-equity firm in New York.  The editorial was originally published in 2014.

Need to Rent Heaters?  Keep Your Crew Up & Running Through the Winter Season!

A full range of heaters are available for rent by the day, week or month.  The Duke Company’s team would be glad to assist you in calculating the BTU’s required for your needs.  For a price quote, the best-maintained rental heaters, outstanding service & fast delivery, give us a call.

With fast delivery, convenient pick-up, friendly customer service & expert advice, The Duke Rentals team works hard to earn your trust & your business.

Duke Rentals and Duke Salt - Winter Products Catalog for Bulk Rock Salt, Bagged Ice Melts and Heater Rental

Helpful Download Information:  The Duke Company’s Winter Products Catalog

Click on the link below to download The Duke Company’s comprehensive winter products catalog highlighting our complete offering to help you get through the Winter.  Whether you need Bulk Rock Salt, Bagged Ice Melts, Heaters, Snow Removal Equipment , Winter Clothing and Protective Gear, Snow Fence, Drive Way Markers and Snow Removal Tools – The Duke Company’s team would be glad to assist you.

To Reach Duke Rentals in ROCHESTER NY, visit or call:

299 Jefferson Road
Rochester, NY 14623

To Reach Duke Rentals in ITHACA NY, visit or call:

7 Hall Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

To Reach The Duke Rentals team in Dansville NY, visit or call:

10131 Poags Hole Road
Dansville, NY 14437