NOVEMBER 28, 1957
HYDE PARK—This is Thanksgiving Day—a festival which belongs to the United States. It is really a religious festival started by our forefathers to thank God for having brought them through their first year in this country.
Some of the Indians had been kind when they needed corn. They had good harvests. The life of freedom which they had envisioned was beginning to be a possibility and they were giving thanks to God, since they had come to this country largely to have freedom of worship and conscience.
Sometimes today we forget the origin of this festival and think of it solely as a time when families can get together for a reunion; the religious side falls into the background.
Yet, no matter to what religion we belong, the tradition of this country should make us grateful for the power beyond our own strength which is acknowledged in every religion, and we should in all of our worship and in our homes give thanks for the good things we have received from God.
In this particular year I hope we will all give thanks for health and strength, for friends and the preservation of loved ones around us, for the memories of good things that we cherish, and for the memories of all things from which we have learned, since wisdom comes to us from experiences that are not always pleasant.
I believe that we face a crisis in this country today which requires of us, as a people, courage, knowledge, imagination and vision. Courage, because no crisis can ever be met if our judgment is clouded by fear. Knowledge, because one can make no plans to meet a crisis unless he is given information and fully understands the situation before him.
Imagination, because without imagination we will never gain understanding of other conditions and of other peoples. We cannot experience what all other nations and peoples have been through, but if we have imagination, we can gain some measure of understanding which will give us sympathy and perception.
Vision, because "without vision the people perish." Vision means having an objective for the whole of life, personally and as a nation, and today in the U.S. our vision must encompass the whole world, since we are the leaders of the free world.
Whatever plans we make must be made with our objectives in view but kept sufficiently flexible to meet the unexpected as it comes up along.
Potential courage, knowledge, imagination, and vision are in our people, for they have had it in the past and they will certainly have it again if only their leaders will trust them, tell them the truth and draw from them the qualities that are needed to meet the crisis and the problems of the day.
So let us give thanks on this Thanksgiving Day—thanks that we believe in God and in a power greater than our own, and let us use our power to meet the challenge that is before us.