This is yet another example of the misuse of “separation of church and state” intended to keep the government out of worship, not worship out of the government. “Dear Lord, help us get our vision back on track.”
Today I went to visit the new World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. I got an unexpected history lesson. Since I’m a baby boomer, I was one of the youngest in the crowd. Most were the age of my parents, veterans of “the greatest war” with their families. It was a beautiful day, and people were smiling and happy to be there. Hundreds of us milled around the memorial, reading the inspiring words of Ike and Truman that are engraved there.
On the Pacific side of the memorial, a group of us gathered to read the words President Roosevelt used to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941– a date which will live in infamy– the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked.” One woman read the words aloud: ” With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph.”
But as she read, she was suddenly angry. “Wait a minute,” she said. “They left out the end of the quote. They left out the most important part. Roosevelt said ‘so help us God.”
“You’re probably right,” her husband said. “We’re not supposed to say things like that now.”
“I know I’m right,” she insisted. “I remember the speech.” The two shook their heads sadly and walked away.
Listening to their conversation, I thought to myself, “Well, it has been 50 years. She’s probably forgotten.”
But she was right.
I went home and pulled out the book my book club is reading. It’s “Flags of Our Fathers” by James Bradley. It’s all about Iwo Jima. I haven’t gotten too far in the book. It’s tough to read because it’s a graphic description of the battles in the Pacific.
But right there it was on page 58. Roosevelt’s speech to the nation. It ends “so help us God.”
The people who edited out that part of the speech when they engraved it on the memorial could have fooled me. I was born after the war. But they couldn’t fool the people who were there. Roosevelt’s words are engraved on their hearts.
It’s great that we finally have a memorial to commemorate the sacrifices of that generation, but I dare say, that generation for the most part believed just as Roosevelt did, “so help us God.”
Proverbs 29:18 has stated it best, “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild.” (New Living Translation). You may best remember it from the King James Version, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Either way, America needs Almighty God’s help!
*From popular Email & Internet Circulation