Lincoln's devoutness grew throughout his life; when he spoke of God, he never spoke pro forma. In his message proclaiming that November 1864 Thanksgiving, he said that the Lord "has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war." And he prayed for the "blessings of Peace, Union and Harmony throughout the land, which it has pleased him to assign as a dwelling-place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations." The Biblical language is typical of Lincoln. Like many Puritan-minded Americans, he thought of his country as a new promised land.
Thanksgiving has been celebrated annually ever since. But the day of thanksgiving Lincoln proposed in his last public speech that final April of his life was a bonus, over and above the annual observance.
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Liberty Bell in Philadelphia -click to see state cultural symbols