by Dr. Jack Hyles
It was the Monday morning of the opening of the 1977 Pastors’ School. Several thousand men of God were traveling from all across America to assemble at our church for a week of training. America lay heavy on my heart. While in tears all the time and on my knees much of the time, I expressed the reasons that I love America. This poem was read during the sermon, “One Nation Under God,” which was preached before several thousand at the aforementioned Pastors’ School.
I love Thanksgiving when we pray,
And July 4th and Labor Day
With picnics, ants, and hungry flies,
And barbecue and hot French fries,
With Cokes and chips and apple pies
Beneath some hazy, lazy skies.
I love Miami’s royal palm
That oozes forth a healing balm
Beside the ocean’s quiet calm.
And Betsy Ross, and Orville Wright,
And dear Ben Franklin’s flying kite;
And Thomas Jefferson’s mightly quill,
And Alamo, and Bunker Hill,
And Paul Revere’s midnight ride,
And Wilbur Wright’s successful glide.
I love United’s friendly skies;
And baseball when the umpire cries,
“Play ball!” as thousands quietly rise
To turn their moistened sober eyes
Toward waving flag that proudly flies.
And Casey Stengal’s Stengaleze,
And Dairy Queen, and Tastee Freeze,
And cotton candy at the zoo;
And corny dogs and Big Macs too;
And Burger Kings, and shopping malls,
And hockey pucks, and basketballs.
And Mississippi’s cotton fields,
And Holland, Michigan’s spinning wheels;
Monotonous midwestern plains,
Florida’s sun, Seattle’s rams.
Atlanta’s lovely, dogwood trails,
And Santa Fe’s long clicking rails.
I love the Rocky Mountain peaks
Beneath a sky which mutely speaks;
And Disney World, and Disney Land,
And Georgia’s fertile blood-red sand:
The Mississippi, and Rio Grande;
Wisconsin’s cheese and dairy land.
I love McDonald’s chocolate shakes,
And Minnesota’s thousand lakes;
The Royal Gorge’s mighty yawn,
A sleepy Alabama dawn;
The harvest moon that shineth on.
I love to gaze at Yellowstone
While licking on an ice cream cone;
And Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge;
And Ford, and Chevrolet, and Dodge.
I love the stately Empire State,
And San Francisco’s Golden Gate.
I love St. Louis’ friendly arch,
The Statue of Liberty’s burning torch,
The Washington Monument’s prickly goad,
And Colorado’s trail ridge road.
I love “My Country, Tis of Thee,”
Oh, blessed land of liberty.
Long may our glorious land be bright,
With freedom’s wondrous holy light,
Protect us by Thy matchless might.
I love to stand with hand o’er heart
And think of those who did their part,
Who left a mom a lone gold star,
Whose bodies rest ‘neath fields afar.
I love New England’s rolling farms,
Its quaint decor and blushing charms.
I love the azalea’s freshened blooms,
East Texas’ roses sparkling plumes.
I love it when my church choir sings,
And know the peace that worship brings.
There beats within my breast a dream
That that small faint and flickering gleam
Will soon become a mighty flame
To spread to all His matchless name:
That those dear four who call me “Dad”
Will know the country I have had;
Where freedom’s flag flies proud and high,
And those dear ones may loudly cry,
“I’m free! My dad helped make it so.
That faint small gleam is now aglow!
That Christian land that he once knew
Is now the kind that we know too!
God’s judging hand has now been stayed,
So I and mine are not afraid,
For churches like our own abound
In every city, village, town!
We’re free to witness, visit, teach
The same dear truths we heard Dad preach!
And now we vow to God above
To pass it on to those we love.”