Memorial Forgets God?
Date Added: June 18, 2004
So many e-mail chain letters are based on fact, but inspire outrage, not with what they say, but what they leave out. This is another one of those.
Subject: God left out of WW II memorial
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 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 improtant 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.
Send this around to your friends. People need to know before everyone forget
THIS IS A DISGRACE
A newer version is shorter, but pumps up the outrage and gives more specific action steps:
At the WWII memorial in DC they have that wonderful speech by FDR. What they have done though is they left off the part "so help us God." They did not have 3 periods afterwards so people would know that there was more. No, they put a damn period after "we will gain the inevitable triumph." Are they so afraid of the word God that they would actually leave a portion of a famous speech so that younger people would never know that FDR asked for help from a supreme power?
Please write your senators and congress people and ask them to have this oversight fixed with the whole speech and to put the words "so help us God" back into this speech. It is not historically accurate until this is done. This is a slap in the face to "The Greatest Generation" and all they have always stood for.
In 2002, an incredibly popular chain letter was created out of a misunderstanding similar to the one behind this e-rumor. In that case, the author claimed that the bottlers of Dr Pepper had omitted God's name from a reproduction of the Pledge of Allegiance on a "patriotic" can. It was reasoned that the designers avoided His name so as not to offend non-Christians. The letter gave just enough detail to stir outrage, but didn't give the full story. In particular, it neglected to point out that the can design included only three words from the pledge: "One nation... indivisible."
A similar misunderstanding is behind the rumor above. The World War II memorial, recently opened in Washington, D.C., features a plaque that includes an excerpt of that speech - namely, the opening line and the second sentence of the 8th paragraph:
"So help us God," is not the final line of this speech. The line that the anonymous woman is overheard recalling as the closer is actually part of the last sentence of the 11th paragraph - the next-to-last paragraph of the speech.
"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 to 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 - 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."
The author of the chain above admits that he or she was unfamiliar with the speech and obviously did nothing to learn more before sending the instantly popular bit of unfounded outrage. Break this chain.
References: Snopes.com, TruthOrFiction.com, About.com, WorldNetDaily