As we prepare for Memorial Day, here is a page from the book, Battlefields & Blessings, by Larkin Spivey (‘D-Day Prayer for the Troops’ page 280).
“DURING THE EVENING of June 6, 1944, as American, British, and Canadian troops were fighting to establish a beachhead on the coast of Normandy, President Franklin Roosevelt went on the radio to lead the nation in a D-Day prayer:
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 so far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join 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 tired, 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.
Tomorrow, the president’s prayer is continued for the nation.”
May we remember those who have gone before us, serving and sacrificing for our freedom. May we remember those who are in service this day on foreign fields to protect and defend the dignity of life.