Almighty God, as we approach this day that has been set aside to express our thankfulness to you for the boundless blessings you have showered on this United States of America and the people who are fortunate enough to be called Americans, I would like to take a few minutes to, in my own words, say thank you for some of the things that mean so much to me.
I thank you for every breath I take and every beat of my heart, every step I make, every sight, every sound, every note of music I write or sing or play.
I thank you for the wonderful woman who has been my inspiration, my help mate, my lover, my best friend and my wife for almost fifty years, who never fails to excite me, console me and follow me to wherever our eventful lives have lead, through thick, thin, ups, downs and side ways and stood firmly beside me no matter what.
I thank you for the wonderful son you gave us, who has always been the center of our world a bright and talented young man who never fails to show his affection for his mother and me, a source of joy and pride and our lives would have never been complete without him.
I thank you for the grandchildren we never thought we'd have, a boy and girl to spoil and see the world through their eyes, eyes to which all thing are new and shiny and innocent a world where cartoons are king Santa Claus is as real as the rain.
I thank you for the men and women who I have been privileged to work with these last forty years, who are faithful, trustworthy and are more like family than employees to me.
I thank you for the blessing of being able to make a living doing exactly what I wanted to for almost sixty years, the accolades and successes that have helped to keep me going and even the failures that helped to make me strong.
I thank you for the beautiful place in Tennessee you've given us to spend our earthly years on, knowing that no matter how glorious and wonderful it is, it can never compare to the place you have prepared for us when we leave our earthbound home.
I thank you for gentle horses, for little white face calves that frolic in the pasture, for the mocking bird that fills the early summer morning air with song, the way a hard rain sounds on the tin roof of our house and how a full October moon reflects in the big pond at the bottom of our hill.
I thank you for the bounty of our table, the overflowing of our cup, for the millions of miles I've traveled in safety, for the sights these old eyes have seen from the glaciers in Greenland to the deserts of Iraq, from the teeming streets of Hong Kong to the quiet of a country lane in Georgia, from Atlantic to Pacific, the Smokies, the Rockies, the Alps and the Cascades, the magnificence of the planet made by Your hand and blessed by Your love.
I am grateful for the beauty of a quiet and gentle snowfall, the soft nicker of a yearling Colt in a barn stall, the color of the hardwood trees in the fall, for the first big frost that sparkles like a field full of little diamonds in the early morning sun and watching a young deer jump a fence like it wasn't even there.
I thank you for the innocent sound of a baby's laugh, the excitement on a child's face gazing at a store window full of toys and the joy of a church full of worshipers praising you in song on a Sunday morning.
I thank you for the men and women in our military who take upon themselves the solemn task of standing between us and those who would destroy us.
And Lord, above all, we thank you for the gift which words can not articulate and, adjectives cannot describe, the gift of Your own Son, Jesus, who suffered more than any man ever has or any man ever will to bring your free gift of eternal salvation to all who would accept it.
And God we thank you for our beloved United States of America and join our hearts in prayer that you will give us yet another chance to get our feet back on the paths of righteousness, that godly, stalwart men and women would come to power and lead this nation out of the darkness and back into the light.