President Roosevelt’s prayer, June 6, 1944

I’ve previously read and posted the prayer, written by President Roosevelt and delivered by him on the radio after the Allies had established a foothold on the Normandy beaches, in which he prayed to God “to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.” But somehow I had never listened to it before. Here is the recording. Roosevelt was an Episcopalian, and the prayer has the form of an Anglican prayer.

Laura Wood said three years ago:

I believe the return of beauty and deference will happen. I said that your idea of non-believers showing deference to believers won’t happen unless there is a return of beauty…. That Roosevelt prayer, filled as it is with thousands of years of conviction and refinement, is a good example. Could you imagine the Christopher Hitchens of the world speaking so boorishly if prayers like this were uttered in public by our leaders?

Unfortunately, it does not seem a good recording. The deeper registers seem to be missing, and Roosevelt’s voice is uncharacteristically reedy and weak, though his “Mid-Atlantic,” upper-class enunciation is as clear as ever, and the delivery is solemn and affecting.

- end of initial entry -

N. writes:

Likely the reason FDR’s voice sounds reedy and weak in the recording of prayer for June 6, 1944 is his health was failing. Relatives who were voting in 1944 have told me the campaign was strange, with few to no appearances in public by Roosevelt. Furthermore, when the newsreels showed him in public after the election results of November, 1944 were completed, people in the theaters gasped in surprise, his deteriorating condition was so clearly obvious.

None of this is to take away from the significance of the prayer in question, but to explain why he sounds weak in the recording. He likely was weak. He was approaching death.

June 7

Spencer Warren writes:

I don’t think the recording is so high because Roosevelt was ill at the time. It just is not a good transfer. I have this prayer in a box LP set of his speeches and he does not sound high-pitched on that recording.

LA replies:

I’m glad to hear it. I didn’t think the cause was illness; this was ten months before his death, and it simply didn’t sound like him, it sounded like someone else.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 06, 2010 03:26 PM | Send

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