| FDR's D-Day Prayer
This is the prayer originally entitled "Let Our Hearts Be
Stout" written by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt as Allied
troops were invading German-occupied Europe during World War II.
President Roosevelt read this prayer to the American peopleon nationwide
radio on the evening of D-Day, June 6, 1944, while American, British
and Canadian troops were fighting to establish beach heads on the
coast of Normandy in France.
The previous night, June 5, the President
had also been on the radio to announce that Allied troops had entered
The spectacular news that Rome had been liberated was quickly
surpassed by news of the gigantic D-Day invasion which began at 6:30
a.m. on June 6.
By midnight about 57,000 American and 75,000 British
and Canadian soldiers had gotten ashore. Allied losses on D-Day
included 2,500 killed and 8,500 wounded.
President Roosevelt prayed as follows:
My Fellow Americans:
Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew
at that moment that troops of the United States and our Allies were
crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come
to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
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
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms,
stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long andhard.
For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may
not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again;
and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause,
our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest
-- until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise
and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They
fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest.
They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance
and goodwill among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of
battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive
them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom. And for us at home
-- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave
men overseas, whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them -- help
us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee
in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the nation into a single
day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire
is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance
of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is
spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to
Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble
the contributions we make in the physical and the material support
of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to
bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons
wheresoever they may be.
And, O Lord, give us faith. Give us faith in Thee; faith in
our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade. Let
not the keeness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts
of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment
-- let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces
of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial
arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister
nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace
invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that
will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of
their honest toil. Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen.