Inside the Beltway: Revisit Reagan’s Thanksgiving

Inside the Beltway: Revisit Reagan's Thanksgiving

So what was the thinking about Thanksgiving in America 40 years ago? The 40th president had an idea or two to share.

“Two hundred years ago, the Congress of the United States issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation stating that it was ‘the indispensable duty of all nations to offer both praise and supplication to God. Above all other nations of the world, America has been especially blessed and should give special thanks. We have bountiful harvests, abundant freedoms, and a strong, compassionate people,” Ronald Reagan said in a public proclamation on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1982.

“I have always believed that this anointed land was set apart in an uncommon way, that a divine plan placed this great continent here between the oceans to be found by people from every corner of the Earth who had a special love of faith and freedom. Our pioneers asked that He would work His will in our daily lives so America would be a land of morality, fairness, and freedom,” Reagan continued.

“Today we have more to be thankful for than our pilgrim mothers and fathers who huddled on the edge of the New World that first Thanksgiving Day could ever dream. We should be grateful not only for our blessings, but for the courage and strength of our ancestors which enable us to enjoy the lives we do today. Let us reaffirm through prayers and actions our thankfulness for America’s bounty and heritage,” the 40th president advised.


The 45th president also had something to say about Thanksgiving.

“On Thanksgiving Day, we thank God for the abundant blessings in our lives.  As we gather with family and friends to celebrate this season of generosity, hope, and gratitude, we commemorate America’s founding traditions of faith, family, and friendship, and give thanks for the principles of freedom, liberty, and democracy that make our country exceptional in the history of the world,” then-President Donald Trump said in a Thanksgiving proclamation issued on Nov. 25, 2020.

It included historical references to the nation’s first Thanksgiving, the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and the nation’s gratitude toward “the brave American patriots” of the U.S. military, and the devotion of law enforcement personnel and first responders.

“This Thanksgiving, we reaffirm our everlasting gratitude for all that we enjoy, and we commemorate the legacy of generosity bestowed upon us by our forbearers.  Although challenges remain, we will never yield in our quest to live up to the promise of our heritage.  As we gather with our loved ones, we resolve with abiding faith and patriotism to celebrate the joys of freedom and cherish the hope and peace of a brighter future ahead,” Mr. Trump concluded.


The National Archives really do chronicle everything.

It is always helpful to spend time at their fine website at — which includes information on the nation’s founding documents, military and federal records, World War II photos and much, much more. Meanwhile, here is a Thanksgiving recipe — and yes, it is part of the official Archives collection, specifically chronicling a “White House Thanksgiving.”

This recipe is verbatim from the Archives records, which also include former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush’s recipe for deviled eggs and entries from several other U.S. presidents. Now, on to the recipe:

Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s Pumpkin Pecan Pie:

4 slightly beaten eggs
2 cups canned or mashed cooked pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup dark corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine the ingredients except pecans. Pour into pie shell. Top with pecans. Bake at 350° for 40 minutes, or until set.


Let us not forget our canine pals on Thanksgiving, who eye most everything on the table. The Old Farmer’s Almanac has assembled a list of food that dogs can and cannot eat on Thanksgiving Day.

“What morsels can you slip your pup as a treat to celebrate the season?” the publication asks.

Dog-friendly human foods include apple slices but not core or seeds, plain white or wheat bread as long as the pup isn’t allergic to wheat — but no raw bread dough, particularly yeast dough. Bite-size pieces of carrots and celery are OK — along with cheese — mozzarella and nonfat cottage cheese the preferred variety.

Corn kernels are “perfectly healthy in small amounts” but no corn cobs, the publication advises. Fresh green beans, raw or plainly cooked, are OK, but not canned beans. Plain, canned, puréed pumpkin can serve as a treat, but not spiced pumpkin pie filling. Cooked plain white rice is fine, but not brown rice.

“Good news! Turkey, the star of most Thanksgiving dinners, is perfectly safe for dogs, in general — if it is plain, unseasoned, properly cooked, and given in small amounts. White meat is best, as it contains less fat, fewer calories, and more protein. Before preparing a plate for your pooch, be sure to remove any fat or skin and never, ever give them the bones, which can splinter and cause tears or blockages in the digestive tract. Avoid giving your dog any seasoned or processed turkey, which may contain harmful ingredients,” the Almanac cautioned.

Also on the no-no list for dogs: Alcohol, chocolate, coffee or tea, garlic, leeks and onions; grapes and raisins plus rich ice cream.

Curious? Consult There is also a list of no-no foods for cats — found at


• 40% of U.S. adults say they “love” pumpkin pie; 42% of Republicans, 38% of independents and 41% of Democrats agree.

• 30% overall say they “like” pumpkin pie; 29% of Republicans, 27% of independents and 33% of Democrats agree.

• 15% overall say they “dislike” pumpkin pie; 16% of Republicans, 15% of independents and 12% of Democrats agree.

• 9% overall say they “hate” pumpkin pie; 9% of Republicans, 8% of independents and 11% of Democrats agree.

• 6% are not sure how they feel about pumpkin pie; 4% of Republicans, 11% of independents and 3% of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov Survey of 1,000 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 14-18.

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for reading Inside the Beltway.

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