WASHINGTON, June 6, 1944 (UP) -- In solemn words that went out to a newly hopeful world, President Roosevelt Tuesday night beseeched Almighty God to give strength and victory to Allied invasion forces now launched upon the greatest crusade of modern times -- the emancipation of Europe's suffering peoples.
"Lead them straight and true," he supplicated. "They will need thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard...(but) we know that by thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph."
Mr. Roosevelt composed the prayer last night as the mighty Allied invasion armada swung out across the channel and into France. It was heard by a radio audience of perhaps 100,000,000 persons who had been asked to recite it with him in this hour of national trial.
It was perhaps the greatest mass prayer in all history. Across the entire land, in every city and hamlet, Americans sat or knelt and joined with their President in begging divine guidance for their sons and brothers and friends who now are engaged in the battle against "the unholy forces of our enemy...the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies."
The prayer was published many hours in advance so that the people might have it before them when Mr. Roosevelt went on the air.
Many more millions in the far lands also heard it, for it was immediately re-broadcast by the Office of War Information in 28 languages and 11 dialects.
Mr. Roosevelt asked Almighty God to "help us to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; faith in our united crusade."
The prayer was published many hours in advance that the people might have it before them when the President went on the air.
"Almighty God," he implored, "our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set up on 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 to their faith.
"They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. 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."
Then he asked that the Heavenly Father "lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace -- a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
"Thy will be done, Almighty God."