(SET ITAL ) (With thanks to the late Chicago Tribune columnist Joan Beck for inspiration.) (END ITAL)
Dear Heavenly Father,
As we gather for this Thanksgiving dinner, we count our blessings, one by one, and as the list of good things which thou hast given us grows longer and longer, we realize how little appreciation we have expressed for this thy bounty:
For redwoods, white plains, and the wild blue yonder, for Yellowstone and brownstones, for evergreen trees and orange groves, for little pink houses and purple mountain majesties, for every divinely painted acre of this sweet land of liberty, we give thee praise.
For Idaho potatoes and Texas toast, for Washington apples and Hawaiian pineapples, for Iowa corn and Maryland crab cakes, for Ohio cherries and Florida strawberries, for Philly cheese steaks and New York cheesecakes, for Maine lobster and Mississippi mud pie, for every home-cooked meal and home-grown harvest, we give thee praise.
O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come, we thank you this day for Northern Lights and Southern hospitality, for weekends in New England, for moonlight over Miami, for California dreaming, for a New York state of mind, for Okies and Aggies, for Motown and O-town, for Silicon Valley and the Shenandoah Valley, for the San Fernando Valley and Valley Forge, for Bunker Hill and the Black Hills, for the Grand Canyon and the Rio Grande, for Pebble Beach and the Jersey shore.
For American ingenuity and American enterprise, for American-made and American-born, for Americans abroad and Americans at heart, we give thee praise.
For the NYPD and the NYFD, for the MDs and EMTs, for Army rangers, for Navy Seals, for Air Force cadets, for Marine Corps reserves, and for all who serve, we thank them, and we thank you, O God, our creator and redeemer.
For "Let's roll," for "We're going up," for "What should I tell the captain?" for "You're going to be alright, brother," for "Take care of the kids," for "I love you, honey," for "We will not fail," for "United we stand," and for "Never forget," we offer eternal thanks.
For Psalm 23, for Ecclesiastes 3, for "How Great Thou Art," for "Morning Has Broken," for "Amazing Grace," and for "Be Not Afraid," we give thee praise.
For "E Pluribus Unum" and "Semper Fidelis," for "God Bless America" and "In God We Trust," for "We the people" and "Of the people, by the people, for the people," for "Don't tread on me," for "Give me liberty or give me death," for "These are the times that try men's souls," for "the land of the free and the home of the brave," we give thee praise.
For iron will, for steely resolve, for mettle tested and time-worn, for uncommon valor that never sleeps, for steady hands, sturdy legs, broad shoulders, and level heads, for stiff upper lips, for blood, sweat, and tears, for conquering our fears, and for unbending courage in the face of the unknown, we give thee praise.
O Father, we come to thee on this national day to join with heart and voice all the people of our blessed land to honor and thank thee. We ask you, Lord, as our forefathers did in times of strife, "to inspire our commanders both by land and sea, and all under them, with that wisdom and fortitude which may render them fit instruments, under the providence of Almighty God, to secure for these United States the greatest of all blessings: independence and peace."
For precious life itself in this great nation -- under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all -- we thank thee, O Father. Amen.