Thanksgiving Proclamations are, for the most part, pretty routine. Namecheck settlers, Washington, Lincoln, God, and our Troops. Encourage people to give thanks. The end. But there are some key differences between a Bush declaration and an Obama declaration!
In that proclamation, it was, indeed, the Author of Life (Almighty God) who was personally responsible for "granting" the Pilgrims "safe passage to this abundant land and protecting them through a bitter winter." Thanks, God, though our first Muslim Atheist Kenyan president remembers it a bit differently:
We also recognize the contributions of Native Americans, who helped the early colonists survive their first harsh winter and continue to strengthen our Nation.
Last year President Bush encouraged "all Americans to gather together in their homes and places of worship with family, friends, and loved ones...." President Obama encourages "all the people of the United States to come together, whether in our homes, places of worship, community centers, or any place where family, friends and neighbors may gather...." (Emphasis added—by ACORN!)
But! Obama was not the first to rep for being thankful in places other than home and church! Clinton also encouraged Americans to gather at home, at places of worship, or at community centers. And so did Bush! In 2001, 2002, and 2003. It was not until 2004 that Americans were no longer encouraged to gather in these community centers. This is presumably because of John Kerry. (Clinton also referenced those Natives who disappeared from Bush's proclamations.)
Clinton never made reference to Lincoln, and Washington only showed up once. Bush Sr. made one Lincoln reference. Reagan, plenty. On the whole, Bush I's proclamations were a little more ambitious, and a little less rote. They included primary sources and historical arcana!
Truthfully, this is an uninspiring first effort from our most literary president in a generation. Barely an improvement over Bush Jr. Let's hope he spends a little more time on it next year.