Thanksgiving as a national holiday - 20.10.1864
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Thanksgiving as a national holiday - 20.10.1864
Today in history - October 20, 1864

The Pilgrims are credited with starting the tradition of Thanksgiving in America. But declaring Thanksgiving Day a formal holiday on the fourth Thursday in November required a pair of presidents -- two of the most famous, in fact. It was Lincoln who issued an 1863 proclamation calling on Americans to "set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving," partly to celebrate victories in the then-raging Civil War.

On Dec. 26, 1941, less than a month after the attack at Pearl Harbor plunged the United States into World War II, Congress passed a law declaring the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day.
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