(by Newt Gingrich, HumanEvents.com) – …This week,…[Americans] should contact our local radio stations with this message: Make June 6 — the anniversary of D-Day — a national day of prayer and commitment to our troops by playing Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s extraordinary address to the nation hours after our troops stormed the beaches at Normandy.
Roosevelt’s D-Day address was much more than a speech. It was a prayer — a prayer that said a lot about America.
It showed that we can be united in faith.
That we can do everything we can to support our troops.
That a President — any President, of any party — can have deeply held religious beliefs and express them publicly.
And that when it really matters — as we have in the past and should in the future — Americans turn to God for courage and guidance.
Franklin Roosevelt was the most successful liberal Democrat of the 20th Century. But today, many liberals would be shocked to discover that when the United States and her allies began the liberation of Europe by landing at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, President Roosevelt went on national radio and led the American people in six minutes of prayer for our young men who were risking their lives to save our freedoms.
That’s right. For the liberals today who don’t understand what is at stake in Iraq, FDR would normally be their guiding light, if it weren’t for this inconvenient truth: Roosevelt understood that there was evil in the world. And he understood that it was the moral duty of the United States of America to defeat that evil.
So when things grew tough at Guadalcanal, when there were great difficulties in North Africa, when there was enormous frustration in the battle of the North Atlantic, Roosevelt knew that the job of a free people was to find more resources, to acquire more courage, to innovate in more ways, and to never flinch — to never contemplate a Congress legislating defeat — but instead to be sure that the cause of freedom would win.
And he appealed to our faith as a nation to do it.
The following is Roosevelt’s prayer, in its entirety (to listen, click 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 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 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 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.
We should reach out to every American of every party and ask them to listen carefully to FDR’s prayer. And then we should ask our fellow Americans to look into their hearts and answer these questions:
Don’t you want the young men and women who are risking their lives for you to have every resource and every opportunity to defeat those who would kill us and end our civilization?
Don’t you want America to come together in strength and in prayer to confront and defeat evil, rather than retreat in weakness and in doubt?
Mr. Gingrich is the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and author of “Winning the Future” (published by Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company).
Copyright ©2007 HUMAN EVENTS, May 29, 2007. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted here May 31, 2007 with permission from Human Events. Visit the website at www.humanevents.com.
1. As you read President Roosevelt’s prayer, listen to it here.
2. What is D-Day?
3. How does Newt Gingrich suggest we remember D-Day? Why?
4. Why do you think it is important for all Americans to remember D-Day?
5. OPTIONAL: If you like Mr. Gingrich’s suggestion, ask your favorite radio station or radio show to play FDR’s D-Day prayer this June 6th. Challenge a parent to do the same.
For a PDF document “D-Day: A Brief History,” go to nationalww2museum.org/education/briefddayhistory.pdf.
For information about D-Day, visit the D-Day Museum website at ddaymuseum.org/about/faqs.html.
For first-hand stories of the D-Day invasion, go to normandy1944.info.