FDR and Remembering Pearl Harbor.
There are still a few buildings there that are pock-marked from strafing attacks by Japanese planes. And thousands of local families have stories about what their parents and grandparents were doing on that day and how their lives were affected in the days and weeks that followed.
Quite appropriately, I received an email from my brother on this December 7th morning which contained a link to the final draft of President Roosevelt’s famous speech to Congress on Monday, December 8th. It’s fascinating to see the edits to the speech in FDR’s own hand.
I was particularly struck by the very first change Roosevelt made: a simple one-word change that turned a rather straight-forward, almost ordinary sentence into one of the most famous spoken lines in American history.
Before Roosevelt’s change, the speech began this way: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in world history … “
The president made one simple change. He crossed out “world history” and penciled in “infamy”.
FDR made quite a few changes to that draft, but none had the more impact … none gave such perfect expression to the national outrage. And I’m sure he knew it, too, because Roosevelt gave that one word just the right emphasis when he delivered the speech the next day to the joint session of Congress: IN-famy.
This is the link to the document.
And this is the link to Roosevelt’s speech.
Peace be unto us.