AS A FORMER SOLDIER, I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives.
In battle, they learned a great truth–that there are no atheists in the foxholes. They know that in time of test and trial, we instinctively turn to God for new courage and peace of mind.
All the history of America bears witness to this truth.
Out of faith in God, and through faith in themselves as His children, our forefathers designed and built this Republic.
We remember from school days that, aboard a tiny ship of destiny called the Mayflower, self-government on our continent was first conceived by the Pilgrim Fathers. Their immortal compact began with the words, “In the name of God, Amen.”
We remember the picture of the Father of our Country, on his knees at Valley Forge seeking divine guidance in the cold gloom of a bitter winter. Thus Washington gained strength to lead to independence a nation dedicated to the belief that each of us is divinely endowed with indestructible rights.
We remember, too, that three-fourths of a century later, on the battle-torn field of Gettysburg, and in the silence of many a wartime night, Abraham Lincoln recognized that only under God could this Nation win a new birth of freedom.
And we remember that, only a decade ago, aboard the transport Dorchester, four chaplains of four faiths together willingly sacrificed their lives so that four others might live.
In the three centuries that separate the Pilgrims of the Mayflower from the chaplains of the Dorchester, America’s freedom, her courage, her strength, and her progress have had their foundation in faith.
Today as then, there is need for positive acts of renewed recognition that faith is our surest strength, our greatest resource.
This “Back to God” movement is such a positive act.
As we take part in it, I hope that we shall prize this thought:
Whatever our individual church, whatever our personal creed, our common faith in God is a common bond among us. In our fundamental faith, we are all one. Together we thank the Power that has made and preserved us a nation. By the millions, we speak prayers, we sing hymns–and no matter what their words may be, their spirit is the same–”In God is our trust.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States
7 February 1954