A Thanksgiving Day Proclamation by the President

Abraham Lincoln in HDR
Lincoln Memorial - Washington, D.C.
By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards 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 even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. 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, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Happy Birthday Olga

Olga Diaz - circa 1962
Today, November 18, 2010,  my mom, Olga Diaz, would have been 74.  It's almost been two years since she left us.  Well at least there's photos of her and recordings of her and her music to keep her memory alive.  The above image is a photo of her from the 1960's which I found and had restored which was taken by my dad on his old medium format camera.  Below, is a you tube video where you can hear her describing a piece by Cuban Composer, Rene Touzet, which she also plays towards the latter part of the video.  So with this, we can all remember her on her birthday ...


An Autumn Sunset Across the Shenandoah Valley

Shenandoah National Park - Skyland, Virginia
“I have never been lost, but I will admit to being confused for several weeks”
-- Daniel Boone

Equal Justice Under Law

The Supreme Court of the United States
On my recent trip to the US Capital, I was fortunate enough to be there at the same time they were having oral argument at the US Supreme Court. Being a member of the Supreme Court Bar, I was able to get in and see some of the arguments in person.  There was a lot of hustle and bustle there early in the morning. Folks lining up in the public lines stretching down to the sidewalk to get a chance at a seat in the Court, attorneys getting ready for oral argument; I even saw Justice Breyer dash in through the main entrance to get to the elevators.  The Court Clerk and assistants there were making sure that the lawyers had their scripts ready when they moved to have new lawyers admitted to the Bar. and that everything ran smoothly there that day.  There were random lawyers from across the country that were there simply to hear argument on cases they were interested in who were discussing esoteric jurisdictional questions that were going to be argued there that day. Once seated in the packed courtroom on a case involving civil procedure, the minute the Court was in session, silence fell over the Court as the nine Justices walked in and took their places.  Everyone there, Judge, lawyer, guests, the employees, tourists, all showed the respect this Honorable Court deserved. The Chief Justice opened the session by admitting new attorneys and called the first case, and the arguments began. The argument that morning was right up my alley as I enjoy Civil Procedure. I've read argument transcripts before, but it was more interesting seeing it live with the Justices prodding the lawyers and each other. After the allotted hour,  I headed back out towards the US Capital and Mall,  hoping that one day, I may get the chance to stand before that Court as an advocate rather than as a spectator. 

In contrast to that busy morning at the Supreme Court,   I stopped by the Courthouse in the middle of the night to take the photograph pictured above,  all was quiet.  There were no lawyers, tourists, judges at that time. Just that majestic old building which is Constitutionally empowered to uphold the law of the land; the Constitution.

An Autumn Day in Shenandoah National Park

Autumn Afternoon - Shenandoah National Park

While the folks were partying and getting woozy at the Jon Stewart Rally last Saturday,  I got away from the City and headed to the Mountains in Shenandoah National Park in northern Virginia. With visions like these, you can have your cities and rallies. I''d plain just hang out in the mountains and stare at the Autumn skies. 

I never saw a discontented tree. They grip the ground as though they liked it, and though fast rooted they travel about as far as we do.” -- John Muir

Please visit my site at www.michaelpancierphotography.com