FDR Prayer May Soon Be Added to WWII Memorial
WASHINGTON -- There was a time, not long ago, when it wasn't odd to hear the president of the United States praying over the airwaves.
Seventy years ago, as Allied forces stormed the beaches at Normandy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's voice filled living rooms via radio across America.
"In this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer," he urged the nation in his June 6, 1944 address.
Now, seven decades after D-Day, Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio have successfully shepherded a bill through Congress designed to memorialize Roosevelt's prayer.
"It is an incredibly powerful prayer and an important part of our history of our country and we wanted to be sure that this prayer was going to be on the WWII Memorial to allow people to see that during D-Day, our president chose not to give a speech but instead to say a prayer for the troops, for our country," Portman said.
Previously, the Bureau of Land Management and other groups opposed adding the prayer, saying the memorial's design is already complete and shouldn't be tampered with.
But on Monday, the House approved the bipartisan measure in a 370-12 vote. Now all that's needed is President Barack Obama's signature.
Should he sign the bill into law, Roosevelt's prayer will be displayed at the nation's WWII Memorial, adding a more complete picture of what life was like and what American troops were fighting for seven decades ago.
As President Roosevelt said in his D-Day prayer, they fought "not for the lust of conquest; they fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate."
Portman called the prayer "powerful."
"I think that's a really important message, too - it's part of what makes us an exceptional country," he said.
Portman said he believes it's especially important for young people to read Roosevelt's prayer.
"I think it's important for them to see, you had a president who was willing to invoke the Lord's name and ask the country to pray for the thousands of Americans risking their lives at that time to liberate a continent," he said.