World War II Memorial Prayer Opposed by Obama Administration

The US House Committee on Natural Resources has forwarded HR 2070 to the floor.  The bill would add a plaque with a D-Day prayer by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to the World War II memorial in Washington, DC.

By unanimous consent, the Committee ordered the bill-H.R. 2070, known as the World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2011, to be reported to the full House on Thursday to the displeasure of the Obama administration, which has criticized and opposed the bill.

The Bureau of Land Management’s director Robert Abbey expressed opposition, claiming such additions would

“dilute” the memorial’s central message and therefore “should not be altered.”

“It is not a judgment as to the merit of this new commemoration, simply that altering the Memorial in this way, as proposed in HR 2070, will necessarily dilute this elegant memorial’s central message and its ability to clearly convey that message to move, educate, and inspire its many visitors,” Abbey said in written testimony.

Opposition has also said:

American veterans came from many different religious traditions or no spiritual path at all…

True, but it’s unclear how that should justify the exclusion of a historical and relevant fact from the memorial.  Are they trying to say FDR’s prayer was (or is now) offensive?

…and that Congress should not belittle the monument by using it as another ploy in the culture wars among other reasons.

Those who think adding the prayer “belittles” the memorial apparently haven’t heard it.  FDR voiced support for the troops, their mission, and expressed to the nation the gravity and solemnity of the effort then underway on the shores of France.  It highlights a central and perilous time in World War II.

FDR spoke to the nation on D-Day, 6 June 1944, as archived at the FDR Library (you can also listen to FDR deliver the prayer here):

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 humanity.

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 and hard. 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 good will 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 our efforts.

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 keenness 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 arrogancies. 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.


We will succeed by God’s grace and the righteousness of our cause.  Father, accept our fallen into Your embrace.  We will prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy.

Think such a prayer would be spoken by a President today?

It’s hard to re-write American history as a secularist narrative if people are continually reminded about the Christian tapestry that has been a part of American society’s conscience for so long.