Ronald Reagan’s 1985 Thanksgiving Address: ‘Thank God for the Bounty and Goodness of our Nation’

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan speaks at a rally for Senator Durenberger February 8, 1982. Reagan turns 92 on February 6, 2003. (Photo by Michael Evans/The White House/Getty Images)
Michael Evans/The White House/Getty Images

Former President Ronald Reagan delivered a memorable Thanksgiving address in 1985, with his words continuing to ring true 34 years later.

The 40th president delivered brief remarks on the cherished holiday, urging Americans to thank God for the liberty they enjoy in the United States.

“You know, the Statue of Liberty and this wonderful holiday called Thanksgiving go together naturally because although as Americans we have many things for which to be thankful, none is more important than our liberty,” he said, painting a stark contrast between the freedoms Americans enjoyed and the oppression that remains a reality for so many across the globe:

He continued:

Liberty: that quality of government, that brightness of mind and spirit for which the Pilgrim Fathers braved the seas and Americans for two centuries have laid down their lives.

Today, while religion is suppressed in perhaps one third of the world, we Americans are free to worship the Almighty as we choose.

While entire nations must endure the yoke of tyranny, we are free to speak our minds, to enjoy an unfettered and vigorous press, and to make government abide by the limits we deem just. While millions live behind walls, we remain free to travel throughout the land to share this precious day with those we love most deeply – the members of our families.

“My fellow Americans, let us keep this Thanksgiving Day sacred,” he added, urging Americans to thank God for the “bounty and goodness of our nation.”

“And as a measure of our gratitude, let us rededicate ourselves to the preservation of this: the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Reagan concluded. “From the Reagan family to your family: Happy Thanksgiving and God bless you all.”

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