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History's Happenings for October 3

Thanksgiving Holiday Declared

The declaration of days of Thanksgiving are not particularly new -- our Puritan forebears commonly set aside time to thank God for bountiful harvests, plentiful rains, and survival in general. The fact of our existence as a nation today proves that He was listening.

On October 3, 1789, President George Washington proclaimed the first national Day of Thanksgiving, to be celebrated on that November 26th, in honor of the adoption of the new Constitution.

Encouraged by a grass-roots movement led by authoress Sarah Josepha Hale, on this same day in 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November to be a National Day of Thanksgiving, to help bolster morale sagging under the weight of the Civil War.

After the War, Congress established Thanksgiving Day as an ongoing National Holiday.

Death Of Saint Francis Of Assisi

Saint Francis of Assisi is best known for his foundation of the Order of Saint Francis -- the familiar Franciscan Friars who, in their vow of poverty, wandered medieval Europe preaching and helping the poor.

Francis was born in Assisi, Italy in about 1181. A gay youth, he was originally intent on a military career, but various visions and dreams pointed him towards a humble religious life. Returning to Assisi, he begged stones to rebuild three old chapels, his efforts attracting followers.

With twelve disciples, he drew up rules for a religious Order based upon his vow of poverty and service, and convinced Pope Innocent III to grant recognition in 1209. Francis died on October 3, 1236, and was canonized two years later by Pope Gregory IX.

The Order grew rapidly and, accompanying Columbus to the New World, established the Christian presence on American shores. Reorganized by various Popes into subdivisions, the Franciscans came to include not only the original humble itinerate friars, but also groups centered in convents, secular members, and the Poor Clares.

Four Popes and one Anti-Pope had their religious origins in the Franciscan Order .

Italy Invades Ethiopia

Pursuing a dream of recreating a Roman Empire, fascist dictator Benito Mussolini invaded the African state of Ethiopia on October 3, 1935 in what was to be a short one-sided struggle between modern and ancient arms.

Italy's claims were based on a treaty extracted in 1889 from then-Emperor Menelik of Ethiopia, giving Italy hegemony over a portion of the African nation, to which it had been attracted for its access to the newly-opened Suez Canal. Disagreements over the agreed breadth of Italy's power in Ethiopa led to her forced ouster in 1895, and the latter's independence.

By May, 1936, the struggle to regain the lost Italian province was over, and Emperor Haile Selassie was forced into exile in Britain. He remained there until the British again pushed the Italians out in 1941. Selassie was returned to the throne and ruled over an Ethiopia increasingly beset with ethnic strife, until ousted in a Marxist coup in 1974.

FDR Creates Office of Economic Stabilization

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U. S. Troops Crack Siegfried Line

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Britain Joins Atomic Club, Tests Nuke

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Germany Reunites

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