Magazine article Church & State

FDR D-Day Prayer to Be Added to D.C. World War II Memorial

Magazine article Church & State

FDR D-Day Prayer to Be Added to D.C. World War II Memorial

Article excerpt

In a virtually unprecedented move, the U.S. National Park Service will soon be forced to add a prayer plaque to the National WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C., thanks to recent congressional action.

On June 30, President Barack Obama signed the "World War II Memorial Prayer Act," which will add an invocation given by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 6, 1944, to the memorial.

The D-Day invocation reads, in part, "And, 0 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."

Some conservative members of Congress were obsessed with getting the prayer added to the memorial. The bill was ignored for a few years, but this time their luck changed. The U.S. Senate approved the measure by unanimous consent, and it was pushed through the U.S. House of Representatives by a 370-12 vote. Obama later signed it into law.

AU argued that adding a prayer to the monument is disrespectful to veterans who do not believe in the Judeo-Christian God and pointed out that altering a memorial more than 10 years after its dedication is nearly unprecedented.

As Americans United Legislative Director Maggie Garrett noted in Senate testimony submitted last year, adding a prayer to the WWII Memorial is not the same as when Congress decided to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial or when former U. …

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