7 MINUTES & 485 WORDS THAT CHANGED AMERICA: THE GREATEST GENERATION SHORTCHANGED FOUR WORDS

11 Jun

© Carrie Devorah

Sometimes what isn’t seen is what is most obvious as is the case with a Bill wending its way through Congress seeking to put Faith in to  the World War II Memorial. Faith is missing. Not new prayer leaving from the World War II Memorial historically incorrect but what I prefer to call the writing on this Memorial’s wall.

Monuments in the Nation’s Capitol don’t just happen. Monuments take years of planning, committee review, a lengthy process that begins with the monument being applied for to American Battle Monuments Commission, ABMC, as directed by Congress, established May 25, 1993 by President Clinton with Public Law 103-32. The American Battle Monuments Commission, authorized to establish a World War II Memorial in DC, hired the GSA, General Services Administration’s Public Buildings Service, to manage the WWII Memorial project. Friedrich St. Florian was brought on board to lead the design team which included George E. Hartman of Hartman-Cox Architects, landscape architect Oehme van Sweden & Associates, sculptor Ray Kaskey, and stone carver / letterer Nick Benson. The Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission approved the WWII Memorial design the summer of ’98. With all these hands involved in the Memorial design pot, it boggles the history buff’s mind, that, believe it or not, God was forgot. Or? Left off intentionally.

The World War II Memorial located between Constitution and Independence Avenues, on 17th Street, east the Washington Monument, further east of the Capitol and west the Lincoln Memorial, near the MLK Memorial, across the water from the Jefferson Memorial rimming the Tidal Basin, adjacent to the near ignored WWI Memorial is special. Being the only 20th Century event on the Mall, the WWII Memorial honors not only a generation of 16 million men and women who served in the armed forces of the United States but their children, their children’s children and generations to come who will be able to travel to the Nation’s Capitol to connect with a loved one who gave of their lives so their family could be free. More than 400,000 died.

April 29, 2004, one month after the WWII Memorial, was dedicated, veterans and their descendants, began the pilgrimage to their WWII Memorial- 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visitors walk from the Atlantic to Pacific theaters. Some visitors pause sharing private secrets with the Memorial. They talk to people we will never know- loved ones who gave their all. It is the norm to see a man or a woman, their hand on a wall, forehead or cheek against the cold stone, silent in prayer. We know to whom they speak. We know of whom they seek solace.

The battle of workmen to become part of this Memorial’s crew is legendary. They had equity in this Memorial being built- fathers, grandfathers, mothers, aunts, uncles- men and women of this generation that went to war for God and Country. After the Memorial was complete, stories began to circulate telling of tin cans holding tags, photos and other loved ones momentos tucked up and away forever. With the Memorial’s concrete hardened, the descendants bound their departed, forever, in time- to this place sixty plus years earlier- recalling the Greatest Generation.

Sixty plus years earlier, America, not prepared, was attacked by the Japanese. President Roosevelt wrote a speech that championed Americans call to war. As do we all when we prepare to speak publicly, there are rough copies of our speeches, rougher copies of our speeches, final copies of our speeches and then reading copies of our speeches. President Roosevelt was no different with a writing copy and a reading copy. The reading copy of President Roosevelt’s speech went missing for 43 years. After adressing the American people from the United States Capitol, President Roosevelt, walked out of the House Chambers leaving his Day of Infamy speech behind. March 1984, an archivist found President Roosevelt’s reading copy amidst group 46 of the US Senate Records, filing guidelines “Dec 8, 1941, if you really care to know. Today, the  typewritten draft of President Roosevelt’s speech is housed at the National Archives and Records Administration Franklin D Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park NY. “Read in Joint Session” are scrawled upon it. There is something Interesting about this marked up copy of Roosevelt’s speech I found crawling on the Internet. Four words that changed America are missing from the now archived draft. Four words that defined the WWII generation are missing. While other words are missing, too, from the WWII Memorial, it is these exactbfour words that must be put up on its walls.

12:30pm, December 8 1941, United States of America Franklin D Roosevelt, delivered a 7 minute speech before a Joint Session of Congress that was  broadcast to the largest audience in American live radio history. More than 81 percent of Americans tuned in to hear their President adress the tragedy of day before, December 7, 1941. The Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor Naval Base on the island of Hawaii. Vice President Henry A Wallace sat to the President’s left as Roosevelt prepared to speak. Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn sat behind him. President Roosevelt’s son James, dressed in uniform, sat to the President’s right. Democrats and Republicans were all Americans, on this day, unified behind their leader. No No aisle separated them as America’s President channeled his country’s emotions to America’s tragedy.

President Roosevelt had met with his military advisors. President Roosevelt asked Congress to go to war. The Senate voted unanimously for war;the House had one dissenter. President Roosevelt signed America’s Declaration into a collective response- WAR- declared against Japan. America joined into WWII.

The delicacy of generating support for the administration’s battle cry was not unique to this Presidency. President Roosevelt had a decision to make, give a long speech or give a shorter terse speech. President Roosevelt’s advisors told him to give a longer speech adressing Japan and America’s relationships. President Roosevelt, wanting to express Americans  feeling they had been victimized, wanted to deliver a shorter dramatic speech that would the voice of American citizens angered at the slaughter of brethren while Japan, openly holding diplomatic negotiations with America was covertly preparing for War against them. President Roosevelt, both the Commander in Chief of the Army and the Navy, chose his words carefully, using one word of power to replace two. “A date which will live in world history”  became “a date which will live in Infamy.” The magnitude of American murdered was not lost. President Roosevelt told Americans to never forget this Sunday attack on Pearl Harbor. President Roosevelt told Americans he had confidence in their strengths. He let Americans know he that with declaring war he “directed that all measures be taken for our defense” letting his citizens know  “our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger”. Americans rallied to President Roosevelt’s call with cries of “Remember December 7th” and “Avenge December 7”.  

 President Roosevelt wrote his Day Of Infamy speech holed up in Room 776 at The Mayflower infamous for less glamorous moments in America’s pop culture. It was the same room in which Roosevelt wrote his inaugural speech. I was told the President was working on his speech until the last moment before he was to leave for the Capitol, racing from his desk in such haste, he left the reading copy of his speech behind, where as legend goes, his aide, glancing the speech over, picked up the pen, scrawled upon it.

Though many know all or parts of the speech written by President Roosevelt off by heart, it bears reading the speech in its entirety again:

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941- a date which will live in infamy- the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.

It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time the Japanese Government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.

The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian Islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.

Yesterday the Japanese Government also launched an attack against Malaya. Last night Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong. Last night Japanese forces attacked Guam. Last night Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands. Last night the Japanese attacked Wake Island. This morning the Japanese attacked Midway Island.

Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.

As Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.

Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – (and at the end of this sentence, four words were scrawled in by President Roosevelt’s aide who upon reading his boss’s speech, knew…..) SO HELP US GOD.  

I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December seventh, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese Empire.”

And there they are, the Four Words that defined the WWII generation, “So Help Us God,”  the similar four words to those George Washington added to the end of the oath of office.

America is edited these days by political correctness and partisan bullying. America is losing so much. She cannot afford to lose these Four Words. With one WWII hero at a time slipping through our collective consciousness, the WII Memorial is what we as a country will have to remember them by, four words that bind them forever into the DNA that makes America great. While it is a Congressional thought to put a new prayer up on the WWII Memorial, it is more of a historically correct thought to put these Heroes prayer upon their Wall. Complete President Roosevelt’s speech. Include the words SO HELP US GOD, the prayer of in the hearts and minds of many Americans today struggling with making it day to day, struggling to hold life as they knew it together. All along the way in the process of the designing and planning the WWII  Memorial,  all of the members of the Commission had the obligation to represent the people not a selected few who chose design over history. If a Law is needed to put SO HELP US GOD upon the wall, make the Law. And if a Law is needed to make it criminal to take creative license with history, changing it, or deleting history with a click of computer key or pencil erasure, make that Law too.

Don’t rewrite history as was done at the WWII with President Roosevelt’s speech:

PEARL HARBOR
DECEMBER 7, 1941, A DATE
WHICH WILL LIVE IN INFAMY…
NO MATTER HOW LONG IT
MAY TAKE US TO OVERCOME
THIS PREMEDITATED INVASION,
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, IN
THEIR RIGHTEOUS MIGHT,
WILL WIN THROUGH
TO ABSOLUTE VICTORY.

Write history. Put the missing sentences where they belong up on the wall of the World War II Memorial. And in larger letters, larger than life, never to be missed, embolden those who need comforting from these Four Words, SO HELP US GOD.

The World War II Memorial, the first national memorial dedicated to all who served during World War II, is the first contemporary memorial where Faith was left off. Patriotic men and women went to war willingly, for God and Country, guided by chaplains to facing their mortality before finding their ways into foxholes some never left. The WWII Memorial is not the only Memorial where literary license was taken. Literary license was taken at the MLK. Can you imagine that Reverend Dr King has NO words of Faith anywhere on his Memorial.

I was told, early on when I began my God project that my photos show ‘the enemy’ exactly where to go to remove Faith from our Capitol. I always answer maybe my God project shows people where to go when seeking Faith. We are only better than our enemies if we return, here and now, the 4 of the 485 words that in 7 minutes glorified America. If Congress does not write history correctly upon this Memorial then Congress, representing We The People, is no better than our enemies that fight us today.  In this endeavor, I ask, I pray, help me put God upon this Memorial’s walls – Carrie Devorah [www.godinthetemplesofgovernment.com ]

Contact your Congressman  (202 224 3121) US Capitol       Main Switchboard

 

 

 

 

 

 

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