This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
John E. Duffy presides.
Rabbi David Lefkowitz, Jr. delivers the invocation.
Vice President Richard Nixon speaks of America being a great spiritual force for good in the world.
Rev. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale reads "The Building of the Ship" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
American Legion National Commander Lewis K. Gough addresses the audience and describes The Back to God program, sponsored by the American Legion, is a "crusade" to being the American people back to god, making America a great moral and spiritual force in the world.
Prescribes three points of emphasis for all Americans: 1) Regular church or synagogue attendance 2) Daily family prayer 3) Religious training for children.
The event also marks the anniversary of the sinking of the USAT Dorchester, and the sacrifice of the Four Chaplains.
A pre-recorded address by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on the "Back to God" theme is played.
Thomas E. Paradine, National Security Council speaks.
Chaplain John B. Williams pronounces the benediction. Followed by the singing of the National Anthem.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 68860 Municipal archives id: LT183
Remarks Recorded for the American Legion "Back to God" Program, retrieved from http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=9818#axzz1nyiBKFui
MY GRATEFUL THANKS go out to each of you for your prayers, because your prayers for divine guidance on my behalf are the greatest gift you could possibly bring to me. As your prayers come from your hearts, so there comes from mine a very earnest one--that all of us by our combined dedication and devotion may merit the great blessings that The Almighty has brought to this land of ours.
We think often of these blessings in terms of material values-of broad acres, our great factories--all of those things which make a life a more convenient and finer thing in the material sense. But when we think about the matter very deeply, we know that the blessings that we are really thankful for are a different type. They are what our forefathers called our rights-our human rights--the right to worship as we please, to speak and to think, and to earn, and to save. Those are the rights that we must strive so mightily to merit.
One reason that we cherish these rights so sincerely is because they are God-given. They belong to the people who have been created in His image.
Now this means as a very special and second reason for cherishing these rights, that they belong to the lowliest amongst us as well as to the mightiest and the highest. That is the genius of our democracy. It is the very basis of the cause for which so many of our fellow citizens have died.
Today we are especially inspired in our resolution to defend those rights by the memory of the four Chaplains who met death-bravely, quietly, even tranquilly--in the sinking of the Dorchester. They gave their lives without complaint, so that their fellow citizens could live.
As we think of their sacrifice, and that of our heroic fellow citizens serving in Korea, we are inspired to take up our own burdens more cheerfully; we are moved to show by greater courage, by patience and mutual understanding--by better citizenship--that we are worthy members of this great American family of free, God-fearing people.