(CNSNews.com) - Less than two hours after he took office as 43rd president of the United States, George W. Bush issued a proclamation calling for a "National Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving, 2001." That day will be Sunday, January 21st.
Following a tradition begun by President Thomas Jefferson in 1801, Bush issued a "call upon the citizens of our nation to gather together in homes and places of worship to pray alone and together and offer thanksgiving to God for all the blessings of this great and good land."
"On this day," Bush's proclamation continued, "I call upon Americans to recall all that unites us. Let us become a nation rich not only in material wealth but in ideals, rich in justice and compassion and family love and moral courage. I ask Americans to bow our heads in humility before our Heavenly Father, a God who calls us not to judge our neighbors, but to love them, to ask His guidance upon our Nation and its leaders in every level of government."
Bush noted that on the first National Day of Prayer in 1801, then-President Thomas Jefferson's oath of office was the "first transfer of power between political parties." Jefferson, a member of the Democratic Republican Party had defeated the incumbent, John Adams, a member of Federalist Party.
"On this bicentennial of that event, we pause to remember and give thanks to Almighty God for our unbroken heritage of democracy, the peaceful transition of power, and the perseverance of our government through the challenges of war and peace, want and prosperity, discord and harmony."