Senator proposes adding prayer to WWII memorial

Washington D.C., May 18, 2012 / 12:01 am (CNA).- U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has introduced a bill to place President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s D-Day prayer on the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.

“On D-Day, courageous Americans risked and sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedoms and end tyranny abroad,” said Portman. “That morning, President Roosevelt asked our nation to come together to pray for the men overseas.”

A senator in the key swing state of Ohio, Portman is considered one of the top potential picks for Vice President on the 2012 Republican ticket. 

In a May 10 statement shortly after he introduced the legislation, he explained that Roosevelt’s prayer “brought strength and comfort to many during one of the most challenging times for our nation.”

Those words “will forever be etched in our history,” he said.

The World War II Memorial Prayer Act of 2012 would commemorate D-Day, June 6, 1944, when more than 150,000 American, British and Canadian troops landed along a 50-mile beach stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline.

More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded, but the invasion allowed many others to begin the march across Europe to fight Hitler’s forces.

On that day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited the nation to prayer through a national radio address.

In his historic prayer, Roosevelt asked the Lord to watch over those who were fighting “to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.”

He called on America to join with him in praying for guidance to fight “greed and racial arrogances” while seeking true freedom and lasting peace.

The president called for the blessings of Almighty God in the fight for justice and freedom, saying that “by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.”
 
Although many people had asked him to call for “a single day of special prayer,” Roosevelt said that he instead wanted to encourage the people to “devote themselves in a continuance of prayer.”

Acknowledging that the road ahead would be long and difficult, he prayed for the gifts of faith, courage and strength, both for the soldiers and the American people at home.

“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,” he said.
 
The president also beseeched the Lord to embrace those soldiers who would not return, welcoming them into his kingdom.

Asking that God’s “will be done,” Roosevelt prayed for those at home “to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.”

Portman said that his bill ensures that Roosevelt’s prayer “will become a permanent reminder of the sacrifice of those who fought in World War II,” as well as a modern remembrance of “the power of prayer through difficult times.”

A companion bill, introduced by Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this year.

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