My Thanksgiving video message and a famous Thanksgiving Prayer
God, ev’ry year about this time,
according to routine,
I’ve bowed my head in the accepted way
and offered thanks, like some well synchronized machine
that prayed because it was the time to pray.
But, God, this year is different, this year I seem to feel
America’s Thanksgiving is my own,
that in my nation’s gratitude I have a part that’s real,
a part that until now I’ve never known.
And, God, this year a deep humility has filled my heart,
a newborn pride rings true thruout my soul
because I do belong, because I have and am a part,
a tiny part of one tremendous whole.
I think I know the feeling of those first Americans
who said, “We must give thanks for this, our land.”
I cherish now the rights that are each woman’s, ev’ry man’s,
the rights I’ve just begun to understand.
This year my heart has learned what all Thanksgiving Days are for,
true thankfulness at last I realize,
but, God, I’m sorry that it took the tragedy of war
in other lands to open up my eyes.
Again I bow my head but this time deep within me stirs
a mighty prayer, part of one vast design,
“God, help me make America as proud that I am hers—
as I am proud, and grateful she is mine!”
This prayer was written by Kathryn Kay in November of 1941 as another great war was occurring in Europe and Asia and was about engulf the United States. It was read over national radio as part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the ratification of the Bill of Rights which began in December of 1941 because the last needed state ratification occurred on December 15, 1791. Much of those celebrations were cancelled because of the events of December 7, 1941. John F. Kennedy heard the poem on radio and remembered it for years. It was the inspiration for his now-famous couplet, “Ask not what your country can do you – ask what you can do for your country.” It is now 222 years since our Bill of Rights was ratified and 50 years since John F. Kennedy was assassinated.