If you have ever seen the 1962 film The Longest Day you may know something of Teddy Roosevelt Jr. and his exploits on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
The part of Theodore Roosevelt’s eldest son was played by Hollywood star Henry Fonda. What you probably don’t know is how the Brigadier General, and the oldest man of the invasion of Normandy at 56, prepared his troops for battle on June 5th.
What do you do when facing monumental obstacles and ferocious foes?
In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat was faced by three foreign foes allied against Judah. The King assembled his people and reminded them of Jehovah’s might and their history (PREACHING). He led the nation in fasting and bowed low in spiritual submission (PRAYER). After bowing low they rose to their feet and vigorously sang “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever” (PRAISE). As the hymns rose heavenward the Lord acted. The enemies were confused and began to slaughter one another in the pandemonium. A great victory was won (POWER), and the chapter concludes with the stirring affirmation that God gave them rest (PEACE) from their foes.
PREACHING+PRAYER+PRAISE = POWER & PEACE
On the eve of the invasion of the French coast, the “Great Crusade” as General Eisenhower proclaimed it, a peculiar event transpired. The only General on D-Day to land from sea and in the very first assault wave at Utah Beach had gathered his troops on the night prior to battle. Roosevelt led his troops in two songs as they huddled up on the terrifying night of June fifth - “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” and “Onward Christian Soldiers.”
On Utah Beach Roosevelt seemed calm under hellacious fire as he hobbled in the bloody sand on his cane (arthritis and wounds from WW1) waving his pistol. His son Capt. Quentin Roosevelt was also part of the Allied Armada (the only father and son in battle together on D-Day). For his inspiring valor and intrepidity on that history-shaping day Teddy Roosevelt Jr. would be bestowed the nation’s highest military accolade, the Medal of Honor. He would die one month later of a heart attack and the President’s son lies in hallowed soil of the American cemetery in Normandy.
So, what do you do on the eve of combat against formidable foes?
The formula is timeless: Truth coupled with prayer and praise brings victory and peace.
The frailest widow, the youngest child, the loneliest missionary whispering a prayer or singing a hymn girds themselves for battle.
“…Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” - 2 Chronicles 2:17