Radio Address at Hyde Park, New York
As we sit quietly this evening in our home at Hyde Park, our thoughts, like those of millions of other Americans, are most deeply concerned with the well-being of all our American fighting men. We are thinking of our own sons—all of them Far away from home—and of our neighbors' sons and the sons of our friends.
That concern rises above all others in this critical period of our national life.
In great contrast to the quiet which is ours here in America, in our own secure homes, is the knowledge that most of those fighting men of ours have no quiet times, and little leisure at this hour to reflect on the significance of our American election day, tomorrow.
Some are standing at battle stations on shipboard, tense in the excitement of action; some lie in wet foxholes, or trudge doggedly through the sticky mud, firing as they go. Still others are high above the earth, fighting Messerschmitts or Zeros.
All of them are giving everything they have got to defeat our enemies, and uppermost in all their minds is the one thought: to win the war as soon as possible, so that they may return to the quiet and peace of their own homes.
But—in the midst of fighting— in the presence of our brutal enemies—our soldiers and sailors and airmen will not forget election day back home.
Millions of these men have already cast their own ballots, and they will be wondering about the outcome of the election, and what it will mean to them in their future lives. And sooner or later all of them will be asking questions as to whether the folks back home looked after their interests, their liberties, their Government, their country—while they themselves were off at war.
Our boys are counting on us to show the rest of the world that our kind of government is the best in the world- and the kind we propose to keep! And so, when our people turn out at the polls tomorrow—and I sincerely hope that it will be fifty million strong—the world will respect our democracy, and the grand old Stars and Stripes will wave more proudly than ever before.
These brave fighters of ours have taken on enemies on both sides of the world, enemies who were nurtured since childhood in militarism. These boys of ours, wisely led, and using the matchless weapons which you here at home have sent to them, have outfought those ruthless enemies, out fought them on the land, outfought them on the sea, outfought them in the skies. They are winning the victory for all of us. Many are giving life itself.
And it is for us to make certain that we win for them- the living and the dead—a lasting peace.
There is nothing adequate which anyone in any place can say to those who are entitled to display the gold star in their windows. But each night as the people of the United States rest in their homes which have been safe from violence during all these years of the most violent war in all history—I am sure all of them silently give thought to their feelings of deepest gratitude to the brave departed and to their families for the immeasurable sacrifice that they have made For the cause of decency and freedom and civilization.
I do not want to talk to you tonight of partisan politics. The political battle is finished. Our task now is to face the future as a militant and a united people—united here at home as well as on the battle fronts.
Twice in twenty-five years our people have had to put on a brave, smiling front as they have suffered the anxiety and the agony of war.
No one wants to endure that suffering again.
When we think of the speed and long-distance possibilities of air travel of all kinds to the remotest corners of the earth, we must consider the devastation wrought on the people of England, for example, by the new long-range bombs. Another war would be bound to bring even more devilish and powerful instruments of destruction to wipe out civilian populations. No coastal defenses, however strong, could prevent these silent missiles of death, fired perhaps from planes or ships at sea, from crashing deep within the United States itself.
This time, this time, we must be certain that the peace-loving Nations of the world band together in determination to outlaw and to prevent war.
Tomorrow, you the people of the United States again vote as free men and women, with full freedom of choice—with no secret police watching over your shoulders. And for generations to come Americans will continue to prove their faith in free elections.
But when the ballots are cast, your responsibilities do not cease. The public servants you elect cannot fulfill their trust unless you, the people, watch and advise them, raise your voices in protest when you believe your public servants to be wrong, back them up when you believe them to be right.
But not for one single moment can you now or later forget the all-important goals for which we are aiming—to win the war and unite our fighting men with their families at the earliest moment, to see that all have honorable jobs; and to create a world peace organization which will prevent this disaster—or one like it—from ever coming upon us again.
To achieve these goals we need strength and wisdom which is greater than is bequeathed to mere mortals. We need Divine help and guidance. We people of America have ever had a deep well of religious strength, far back to the days of the Pilgrim Fathers.
And so, on this thoughtful evening, I believe that you will find it fitting that I read a prayer sent to me not long ago:
"Almighty God, of Whose righteous will all things are and were created, Thou hast gathered our people out of many lands and races into a great Nation.
"We commend to Thy overruling providence the men and women of our forces by sea, by land, and in the air; beseeching Thee to take into Thine own hands both them and the cause they serve.
"Be Thou their strength when they are set in the midst of so many and great dangers. And grant that, whether by life or by death, they may win for the whole world the fruits of their sacrifice and a just peace.
"Guide, we beseech Thee, the Nations of the world, into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the reward of righteousness.
"Make the whole people of this land equal to our high trust, reverent in the use of freedom, just in the exercise of power, generous in the protection of weakness.
"Enable us to guard for the least among us the freedom we covet for ourselves; make us ill-content with the inequalities of opportunity which still prevail among us. Preserve our union against all the divisions of race and class which threaten it.
"And now, may the blessing of God Almighty rest upon this whole land; may He give us light to guide us, courage to support us, charity to unite us, now and forevermore. Amen."
Franklin D. Roosevelt, Radio Address at Hyde Park, New York Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/210511