AS the Psalmist wrote, "O give thanks to the Lord for He is gracious, for His mercy endures for ever." Almighty God has answered the prayers of millions of people with the liberation of Kuwait and the end of offensive operations in the Persian Gulf region. As we prepare to welcome home our courageous service men and women and join in the joyful celebrations of the Kuwaiti people, it is fitting that we give thanks to our Heavenly Father, our help and shield, for His mercy and protection.
Asking Him to judge not our worthiness but our need and protection, and knowing that the Lord gives victory "not by might, not by power," we prayed for a swift and decisive victory and for the safety of our troops. Clearly, the United States and our coalition partners have been blessed with both. We thank the Lord for His favor, and we are profoundly grateful for the relatively low number of allied casualties, a fact described by the commanding general as "miraculous." Nevertheless, because each and eve ry human life is precious, because the massive scale of Operation Desert Storm must never diminish the loss of even one service member, we also remember and pray for all those who made the ultimate sacrifice in this conflict. May the Lord welcome all who have fallen into the glory of Heaven, and may He strengthen and console their families in their hour of need. May it also please our Heavenly Father to grant a full recovery to those military personnel wounded in action.
We also give thanks for the remarkable unity of our people throughout this conflict - a unity marked by heartfelt and generous support for our troops in the field and, in the American tradition, respect for the rights of those who dissent. May our nation emerge from this conflict stronger and more united, to face as one united people the challenges and opportunities before us.
As we unite in thanksgiving to Almighty God, let us pray in a special way for the innocent men, women, and children - wherever they may be - who have suffered as a result of the conflict in the Gulf. Recalling the words of President Wilson shortly after World War I, let us seek forgiveness for any "errors of act or purpose" and pray for God's help and guidance on the way that lies ahead. May the resolution of remaining questions and concerns, especially the return of all prisoners of war and the freeing of those who are detained, be as timely and as certain as this victory in battle.
Finally, seeing before us the promise of a safer, more peaceful world - one marked by respect for the rule of law - let us offer all these entreaties in a spirit of faith, humility, and gratitude, seeking reconciliation with all peoples. In so doing, we recall the timeless prayer found in Scripture:
"Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory ... for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is Thine ... and Thou reignest over all ... in Thine hand is power and might; and in Thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank Thee and praise Thy glorious Name."
As the Psalmist wrote, "Come behold the worlds of the Lord.... He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth."
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim April 5-7, 1991, as National Days of Thanksgiving. I ask that Americans gather in homes and places of worship to give thanks to Almighty God for the liberation of Kuwait, for the blessings of peace and liberty, for our troops, our families, and our Nation. In addition, I direct that the flag of the United States be flown on all government buildings, I urge all Americans to display the flag, and I ask that bells across the country be set ringing at 3:00 p.m. (eastern daylight savings time) on April 7, 1991, in celebration of the liberation of Kuwait and the end of hostilities in the Persian Gulf.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.