Thankfulness is not the same as gratitude.
Thankfulness involves appreciativeness, gratitude is the act of being thankful. You must appreciate something in order to be thankful, which brings in the act of gratitude.
Our first President, George Washington, at the request of Congress, established the first Thanksgiving Day for the purpose of “acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”
Let’s look closely at those words.
Acknowledging with grateful hearts
A human being recognizes a good, appreciates it, and does do with gratitude.
the many signal favors of Almighty God
As we are created by God and endowed with “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government
Not only to establish a form of government, but a government, as defined in the Declaration of Independence, that is “deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,” not a government that imposes its will upon its people.
for their safety and happiness.
Safety in a country where all citizens are equal under the law, and pursue happiness in liberty.
If you are of a certain age, you may be thinking, “I heard this in grade school.” Yes, I know I’m sounding like a fifth grader going over a history homework.
Sadly, a great many adults have forgotten, and a lot of young people are never taught, the most basic of lessons: Thankfulness is inherent in the American spirit.
And yes, the Founding Fathers chose their words very carefully.
Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on U. S. and Latin America at Fausta’s blog