“To establish that the emergency has passed, statements and acts of the President and of other executive officers are adduced; some of them antedating the enactment of the statute here in question. There are statements of the President to the effect that the war has ended and peace has come, that certain war agencies and activities should be discontinued, that our enemies are impotent to renew hostilities and that the objects of the act here in question have been satisfied in the demobilization of the army and navy. Hamilton v. Kentucky Distilleries & Warehouse Co., 251 U.S. 146, 159, 40 S. Ct. 106, 109, 64 L. Ed. 194 (1919) (citing Thanksgiving Proclamation, Official U. S. Bulletin, Nov. 18, 1918, p. 1.) (emphasis added).
The Supreme Court explained that “severe restriction imposed by the act upon the disposition of liquors amounts to a taking of property, and, being uncompensated, would, at least as applied to liquors acquired before the passage of the act, exceed even the restriction held to be admissible under the broad police powers possessed by the states.” Kentucky Distilleries & Warehouse Co., 251 U.S. at 155. Although many of the restrictions imposed by the pandemic may have passed, let us not forget that severe government restrictions can amount to takings by eminent domain. That is, the public, not the individual, should shoulder the burden together. Let us be thankful that the framers protected our property rights in this regard.
By the President of the United States
It has long been our custom to turn in the autumn of the year in praise and thanksgiving to Almighty God for His many blessings and mercies to us as a nation. This year we have special and moving cause to be grateful and to rejoice. God has in His good pleasure given us peace. It has not come as a mere cessation of arms, a mere relief from the strain and tragedy of war. It has come as a great triumph of right. Complete victory has brought us, not peace alone, but the confident promise of a new day as well in which justice shall replace force and jealous intrigue among the nations. Our gallant armies have participated in a triumph which is not marred or stained by any purpose of selfish aggression. In a righteous cause they have won immortal glory and have nobly served their nation in serving mankind. God has indeed been gracious. We have cause for such rejoicing as revives and strengthens in us all the best traditions of our national history. A new day shines about us, in which our hearts take new courage and look forward with new hope to new and greater duties.
While we render thanks for these things, let us not forget to seek the Divine guidance in the performance of those duties, and divine mercy and forgiveness for all errors of act or purpose, and pray that in all that we do we shall strengthen the ties of friendship and mutual respect upon which we must assist to build the new structure of peace and good will among the nations.
Wherefore, I, Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States of America, do hereby designate Thursday, the twenty-eighth day of November next as a day of thanksgiving and prayer, and invite the people throughout the land to cease upon that day from their ordinary occupations and in their several homes and places of worship to render thanks to God, the ruler of nations.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done in the district of Columbia this sixteenth day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eighteen and of the independence of the United States the one hundred and forty-third.