FDR speaking to the nation
From another era, an unwavering voice speaks slowly, its gravity punctuated by ministerial pauses: “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. …”
It was June 6, 1944, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt first addressed a nation beset by war. While American, British and Canadian troops fought to establish beachheads on the coast of Normandy in France, American families adjusted their radio dials to hear the president pray.
Now, exactly 63 years later, Roosevelt’s voice once again speaks, this time to a nation divided over a war.
In honor of D-Day’s anniversary, Arkansas e-card creator Scott Kinney, operator of interviewwithjesus.com, has resurrected President Roosevelt’s prayer to encourage support and prayer for U.S. troops abroad. The flash movie maker’s newest production features audio of Roosevelt reading his prayer streaming in synch with corresponding photos of the Iraq war effort.
President Roosevelt’s Prayer
The night before FDR’s prayer, the president was on the radio for a vastly different reason: to announce the spectacular news that the Allied troops had entered Rome and the city had been liberated. The celebration was cut short a few short hours later, when at 6:30 a.m., the D-Day invasion began. By midnight, about 57,000 American and 75,000 Canadian and British troops had come ashore. The conflict was deadly, and the public was in emotional turmoil.
Amid the tumult, America needed its president to demonstrate strength of character, faith and vision. FDR met and exceeded their expectations, asking God in his radio address to guide the troops, “the pride of our nation,” to “lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.”
Kinney came across the prayer while doing research for a follow-up to his most popular video, “One Nation Under God.” After reading a snippet of the text, he came across the audio. The prayer “quickened” him, he said, adding, “I couldn’t believe I was hearing a president of the United States praying the way FDR did.”
Hearing the prayer led to what Kinney calls a “mini-epiphany.” He decided to marry Roosevelt’s audio to present-day imagery of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sorting through hundreds of photos, he found images of patriotism and peace to illustrate Roosevelt’s words.
At over six minutes long, the president’s prayer is strong, yet emotional; fit for a nation quaking in its faith yet steady on a course to victory.
Photos scroll of modern soldiers outfitted with night-vision goggles, making their way through darkness and battling fatigue as FDR says of the troops, “They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest – until the victory is won.”
He continues, “The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war,” while photos of enemy fire and soldiers kneeling alongside weapons slowly fade in and out.
The video is intended to provoke a strong, patriotic reaction in its viewers.
“I have this feeling that Americans are tired of the war in Iraq and are, in a sense, giving up on our brave men and women over there,” Kinney said. “I hope people will watch this video and be inspired by the prayer and motivated to pray for our troops and support them in an outward fashion.”
So far, response to the video has been varied, but generally positive. While one older man claiming to be from the World War II generation denounced Kinney for implying FDR would have supported the Iraq war, Kinney says “a family member showed it to my sweet grandmother, who went through the Depression virtually penniless … and just last weekend she told me how very comforting it is to her.”
“No one has issued a death threat to me because of it, and I’ve received a few in the past, so I’ll probably know that the video has really caught on when I start getting a few more of those,” he continued.
The Arkansas e-card creator’s previous efforts include his first video, “The Lord’s Prayer,” which has accumulated well over 1 million hits; “Interview with Jesus,” which uses Scripture as the basis of a “conversation” presenting the Gospel; and his site’s most popular clip, “In God We Trust,” which uses quotes from America’s founders and foremost politicians to demonstrate the importance of Christian heritage.
Kinney calls himself “blessed” to be able to do his work because he is “quite simply, creating a viral way for people to spread the Gospel of Christ, share a portion of Scripture, or remind or inform others about America’s godly heritage.”
Whether his viewers love, hate, or remain indifferent to his D-Day video, Kinney says he hopes, at the very least, “they will take a moment and pray for our soldiers overseas.”
While he admits there is “real ‘Iraq fatigue,’” he said it’s imperative the American people “give our troops the honor they are due,” appropriating FDR’s words as his own prayer:
“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.’”
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Jennifer Carden is a WND editorial assistant