Remembering D-Day, Sixty-Five Years Later

Sixty-five years ago today, on June 6, 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt lead the nation in prayer as the Greatest Generation launched its mightiest battle of the Second World War:

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.


That prayer is as relevant today as it was sixty-five years ago. Let us take this day to remember and honor the sacrifice of not only thousands of men on D-Day but also thousands of men and women in every battle this country has ever fought in the fight for freedom.

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24 Responses to Remembering D-Day, Sixty-Five Years Later

  1. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s D-Day Prayer:

  2. Through the words of his loving daughter, who is here with us today, a D day veteran has shown us the meaning of this day far better than any President can. It is enough for us to say about Private Zanatta and all the men of honor and courage who fought beside him four decades ago:

    We will always remember.
    We will always be proud.
    We will always be prepared,
    so we may always be free.

  3. The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought – or felt in their hearts, though they couldn’t know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at four A.M., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

    Something else helped the men of D day; their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer, he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do. Also, that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: “I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.”

    These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

    June 6, 1984
    This was an emotional day. The ceremonies honoring the fortieth anniversary of D day became more than commemorations. They became celebrations of heroism and sacrifice. This place, Pointe du Hoc, in itself was moving and majestic. I stood there on that windswept point with the ocean behind me. Before me were the boys who forty years before had fought their way up from the ocean. Some rested under the white crosses and Stars of David that stretched out across the landscape. Others sat right in front of me. They looked like elderly businessmen, yet these were the kids who climbed the cliffs.

  4. Every person who fought against tyranny that day was a hero.
    But some received medals for their valor…
    Medal of Honor Recipients, Normandy Invasion

  5. One would think that any major celebration would include the one head of state in the West that actually served in the war, out of simple respect for her service.

  6. Reagan went to Normandy as the man who had alarmed liberals by calling the Soviet Union an “evil empire.” He left as the American president who had reminded the entire western world of the time when liberals as well as conservatives had fought side-by-side, and defeated tyranny.

    Twenty years later, when George W. Bush went to France, he had an even harder job. Bush’s host in 2004 was French President Jacques Chirac, who had broken with the Bush administration over the invasion of Iraq. At a joint Paris press conference I attended on June 5 of that year, the body language between the leaders was terrible, the tension palpable. Yet, the following morning Bush won over Chirac with a remarkable, if unremembered speech – one of the best of Bush’s presidency.

    One reason it is not well remembered is that Reagan, that old trouper, that ham, died that morning – and the news of his death blotted out the sun, as far as the media was concerned…

    I am proud to report, however, that yours truly arose at 3 a.m. for a bus trip from Paris to Normandy to be there for the event.

    It was well worth it. Prefaced by a gentle nod toward Reagan (“a gallant leader in the cause of freedom”), George W. Bush gave as noble an explication of why democracies fight as any president ever has.

    Standing at a lectern with a clear view of the English Channel, packed with vintage ships from the Second World War, Bush spoke of the great battle that had taken place below the cliffs in front of him, and how, when the firing had finally ended and the wounded and dead were removed from the beaches, the sand was still littered for mile upon mile with the equipment of the armies and the belongings of the boys who had given everything they had.

    “There were life belts and canteens and socks and K-rations and helmets and diaries and snapshots,” Bush said. “And there were Bibles, many Bibles, mixed with the wreckage of war. Our boys had carried in their pockets the book that brought into the world this message: Greater love has no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. America honors all the liberators who fought here in the noblest of causes.”

    Turning then toward Chirac, Bush delivered the speech’s kicker. “And America would do it again, for our friends.”

    The field of green was silent for a moment before the aging audience broke into heartfelt applause. Chirac, clearly moved by Bush’s words, approached the American president, grasped both his hands, and for a poignant moment, did not let go.

  7. The day the West freed itself from tyranny.

    Unfortunately, the West has now submitted itself to a new tyrant…

    Forget Islamist encroachment via shari’a… Now we have the tyranny of The One before us

  8. After watching those earlier videos of FDR, Reagan, Clinton, and Bush, it is painful to watch Obama do teleprompter ping-pong, with no sincere emotion, and have difficulty reading prepared remarks that draw attention to himself and his communist vision for America.

  9. Obama’s full speech, in 2 parts:

  10. Would Obama consider Eisenhower a “crusader”?

  11. Do you notice the distinct difference between the Judeo-Christian references by all of the Presidents before Obama (FDR, Eisenhower, Reagan, Clinton, Bush) versus Obama?

    Here’s all that Obama could say about God today:

    But whatever God we prayed to, whatever our differences, we knew that the evil we faced had to be stopped. Citizens of all faiths and of no faith came to believe that we could not remain as bystanders…

    To those men who achieved that victory 65 years ago, we thank you for your service. May God bless you, and may God bless the memory of all those who rest here.

  12. Eleanor Roosevelt’s Wartime Prayer

    Dear Lord,
    Lest I continue
    My complacent way,
    Help me to remember that somewhere,
    Somehow out there
    A man died for me today.
    As long as there be war,
    I then must
    Ask and answer
    Am I worth dying for?

  13. When did it become wrong to believe in God?

  14. On 65th anniversary of D-Day,
    Google chose to honor not the soldiers who fought that day, but rather the creation of a Russian computer programmer.


    On June 6th, 2012 at 11:28 pm, skye said:

    Never Forget – Arthur Seltzer D Day survivor and liberator of Dachau.

    D-day first person account. So damn chilling.

    Dachau liberation – 15 minutes long but well worth the time:

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