Lord God of Nature,
You have created
stately green firs
and pine trees, cedars and sequoias,
which tower majestically upward
in forests and on high mountain tops, reaching towards Your
In many cultures
trees have been revered
and invested with ritual and spiritual significance, in winter
solstice celebrations, and most notably, of course, across
the globe in commemorations
of Your Nativity: victories of life
over death in the cold dark of winter.
May my love for You
stand unshaken like these great green sentinels. I thank you
for the towering, living monuments which grow deep in forests,
unseen by mankind,
but reaching their boughs heavenward to You in ageless fealty.
May I offer them
back to you,
Creator of all nature, these glorious trees,
in thanks for all You have done for me
and as pledges of my faithfulness
to You and Your Word now and forever.
note: On January 19, 1961, the day before the Inaugural of
President John F. Kennedy, a heavy snowfall blocked the streets
of the capitol. With a friend who had two tickets to the Inaugural
Eve Gala, I walked from Arlington, along the Pennsylvania
parade route which was being cleared of snow for the celebration
the next day.
We made our way across the city to the National Guard Armory
where the gala was to take place. At the scheduled time of
9 pm, with so many inaugural eve suppers and so many streets
blocked with snow and slow-moving traffic, the hall was perhaps
one quarter filled, the audience scattered across a sea of
empty seats. Some 45 minutes later President Kennedy arrived
and still fewer than half of the seats were filled.
the moment, he honored and invigorated the attendees with
words to this effect:
Fall all the trees turn brown and shed their leaves except
the evergreens, which stand proud and green throughout the
winter storms. "You are my evergreens tonight!"
He then thanked those who were about to perform.
The early-arrivals were, of course, ecstatic to be "evergreens."
Slowly the vast auditorium filled,
and the evening's entertainment, featuring luminaries of the
era, began. Hosted by Frank Sinatra, the roster of stars from
Broadway, film, television and the classical arts, included
Harry Belafonte, comedian Milton Berle,
conductor Leonard Bernstein, comedian Joey
Nat King Cole, actor Tony Curtis, comedian Bill Dana,
film stars Bette Davis and Jimmy
Durante, singers Ella Fitzgerald and Mahalia Jackson,
dancer Gene Kelly, actors Peter Lawford, Janet Leigh and Frederic
March, singer Ethel Merman, actors
Laurence Olivier and Sydney Portier, band leader Louis Prima,
Juliet Prowse, actor Anthony Quinn,
Kelly Smith, opera singer Helen Traubel and film personality
Raquel Welch. A night to remember.
remarks were almost certainly
ad-libbed. They are not catalogued in his dossier
2011 Donn B. Murphy
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