At 9:57 pm on D-Day, June 6, 1944, FDR sat in front of a microphone in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House waiting to begin a national radio address.
Earlier in the day the President had held a press conference in the Oval Office for over 180 reporters. While providing few details on the invasion, Roosevelt expressed confidence about its success. Now he wanted to speak directly with the public.
FDR’s address took the form of a prayer. He had composed it during the weekend before the invasion, with assistance from his daughter, Anna, and her husband, John Boettiger. The text was released in advance so Americans could recite it with him. Roosevelt’s “D-Day Prayer” struck a powerful chord with the nation. Printed copies were distributed and displayed widely throughout the remainder of the war.
Learn more about D-Day and the special relationship between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in our new special exhibit “D-Day: FDR and Churchill’s ‘Mighty Endeavor'” now open through January 6, 2020: https://www.fdrlibrary.org/mighty-endeavor.