TO THE ARMED FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES THROUGHOUT
After the tragic news of the death of our late Commander
in Chief it was my duty to speak promptly to the Congress and the armed
forces of the United States.
Yesterday, I addressed the Congress. Now I speak to
I am especially anxious to talk to you, for I know
that all of you felt a tremendous shock, as we did at home, when our
Commander in Chief fell.
All of us have lost a great leader, a far-sighted
statesman and a real friend of democracy. We have lost a hard-hitting
chief and an old friend of the services.
Our hearts are heavy. However, the cause which claimed
Roosevelt, also claims us. He never faltered-nor will we!
I have done, as you do in the field, when the Commander
in Chief falls. My duties and responsibilities are clear. I have assumed
them. These duties will be carried on in keeping with our American tradition.
As a veteran of the first World War, I have seen death
on the battlefield. When I fought in France with the Thirty-fifth Division,
I saw good officers and men fall, and be replaced.
I know that this is also true of the officers and
men of the other services, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard
and the Merchant Marine.
I know the strain, the mud, the misery, the utter
weariness of the soldier in the field. And I know too his courage, his
stamina, his faith in his comrades, his country and himself.
We are depending upon each and every one of you.
Yesterday I said to the Congress and I repeat it now:
"Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women
in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned
our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices. Because
of these sacrifices, the dawn of justice and freedom throughout the
world slowly casts its gleam across the horizon."
At this decisive hour in history it is very difficult
to express my feeling. Words will not convey what is in my heart.
Yet, I recall the words of Lincoln, a man who had
enough eloquence to speak for all America. To indicate my sentiments,
and to describe my hope for the future, may I quote the immortal words
of that great Commander in Chief:
"With malice toward none; with charity for all;
with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us
strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up our nation's wounds;
to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow,
and his orphan-to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting
peace among ourselves, and with all nations."