Monday, June 6, 2011
A Prayer for D-Day
During the evening of 6 June 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 address the nation, saying, “In this poignant hour, I ask you to join me in prayer.” His appeal to God at this pivotal moment in history addressed the concerns of families across the nation for their troops in danger on the beaches of France:
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 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.
These words of a great President from the past are very relevant today for the countless mothers, fathers, wives, and husbands with loved ones serving abroad in harm’s way. Men and women in service today also fight to bring liberty to oppressed people, and yearn constantly for one thing: to return safely to loved ones at home. May God bless and keep safe these worthy descendents of the great heroes of D-Day.
(the complete prayer can be seen on p. 280-281, Battlefields & Blessings, Stories of Faith and Courage from World War II.)