Americans, looking back on the tumultuous events of 1968, may be more inclined to ask God's mercy and guidance than to offer Him thanks for His blessings.

LYNDON JOHNSON'S fifth and final Thanksgiving Proclamation was not the conventional catalogue of national self-congratulation. How could it be, after the sort of year the nation—and the world—has experienced? Flat and matter-of-fact, it fell far short of eloquence. Yet in tone and temper, it probably came close to expressing the mood of Americans in a year many of them would rather forget.

For the U.S. there are, as always, plentiful reasons enough for thanksgiving. The nation...