Mr. Speaker, in 1621, the Pilgrims held a 3-day festival giving thanks to the Lord for a bountiful harvest. They celebrated with the Indians, who had also suffered through a previously hard winter. This feast would become the birth of our national holiday of Thanksgiving.

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the fourth Thursday of November the official Thanksgiving day, which we celebrate Thursday next. For the first 150 years, Thanksgiving was celebrated whenever the Colonists believed it was necessary to do so. President George Washington stated in the first Thanksgiving proclamation authorized by Congress in 1789: ``It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to be grateful for His benefits and to request His protection and favor. I recommend to the people of the United States a day of public Thanksgiving and prayer to show the many favors of the Almighty and especially the opportunity for this form of government.''

So as this Nation, Mr. Speaker, seems to move toward a secular country, we would do well to remember the purpose of Thanksgiving and the words of the Good Book, which says: ``Unless the Lord watches over the city, those that guard the walls do so in vain.''

And that's just the way it is.