FDR’s D-Day Prayer, 78 Years Later
Nearly 80 years ago, we faced difficult odds with great courage and God’s help. Sounds like what we need again today.
From Fox News. President Franklin D. Roosevelt trumpeted America’s foundation of faith to inspire the nation in its finest hour: D-Day, June 6, 1944.
“Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our republic, our religion and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity,” FDR said resolutely on D-Day, leading a prayer that crackled from radios coast to coast and to service members and occupied nations around the globe.
Now, 78 years later, some Americans believe that his stirring call to spiritual arms can unite the nation once again and pay tribute to the sacrifice and commitment of our military and veterans.
“FDR’s prayer seemed to bring everybody together,” said Chris Long of Akron, Ohio, leader of the D-Day Prayer Project, which aims to permanently install the prayer in D.C. “We hope it can speak to generations to come.”
Construction of an FDR prayer monument at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., is set to begin this July — and may be completed by early December.
Long, head of the Christian Alliance of America, launched the effort 11 years ago to get the rousing text of Roosevelt’s prayer, all 525 words of it, engraved in perpetuity at the national memorial….
Spiritual mobilization of Americans
Roosevelt called for the spiritual mobilization of the American people as the massive D-Day invasion force stormed by air and sea into Normandy, France.
The U.S. and the Allies landed 160,000 troops in France on the first day alone. The effort was supported by tens thousands of other members of the multinational armed forces who manned warships and aircraft.
The nation awoke on June 6, 1944, to learn that its heroic youth crawled from the sea and fell from the sky overnight in an effort to wrest an enslaved Europe from Hitler’s clutches….
Roosevelt steeled frightened mothers and fathers, and a worried but determined nation, for the shocking human cost to come.
“Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war,” the president said soberly.
“Some will never return,” he said. “Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom … I ask that our people devote themselves into a continuance of prayer … And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade…”
Americans by the millions instinctively responded to the news of the D-Day invasion by flooding their churches and synagogues.
“The impulse to pray was overwhelming,” wrote author Stephen Ambrose in his book, “D-Day, June 6, 1944: the Climactic Battle of World War II.”
“Across the United States and Canada church bells rang … as a solemn reminder of national unity and a call to formal prayer. Special services were held in every church and synagogue in the land. Pews were jammed with worshippers,” he wrote.
Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia of New York City hosted an impromptu prayer service on D-Day before a crowd estimated as large as 50,000 people in Madison Square Park in Manhattan.
The bells of the historic Old North Church in Boston rang that morning, while schoolchildren “recited the Lord’s Prayer in every classroom in Massachusetts,” The Boston Herald reported that day.
The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia rang for the first time in 109 years, among countless other chimes of support across the nation….
Churches and synagogues opened around the clock to handle the flood of Americans seeking strength, comfort and unity in the pews of their houses of worship….
‘Need the same continuance of prayer’
Long of the D-Day Prayer Project said he awoke one morning more than a decade ago, turned to his wife and told her of his idea of have the president’s appeal to the faith of the American people etched for eternity at the nation’s capital.
He said he is delighted to know that his vision will soon be a reality — and hopes the FDR prayer memorial can help bring the nation together in faith once again.
As a sign of his hope, he cited the bipartisan support the bill received in 2014, allowing the project at the federal memorial to move forward.
“I think it’s true right now that the nation is in turmoil,” said Long.
“This is a time when we need the same continuance of prayer that Roosevelt asked for on D-Day,” he also said.
“Not one prayer, but a continuance of prayer.”
How are you praying for unity and continuance of prayer today? Share this article to encourage others to pray.
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