Flag Day Address

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Flag Day Address
by Franklin Delano Roosevelt
National Radio Address delivered 14 June 1942

Today on Flag Day we celebrate the declaration of the United Nations-that great alliance dedicated to the defeat of our foes and to the establishment of a true peace based on the freedom of man. Today the Republic of Mexico and the Commonwealth of the Philippine Islands join us. We welcome these valiant peoples to the company of those who fight for freedom.

The four freedoms of common humanity are as much elements of man's needs as air and sunlight, bread and salt. Deprive him of all these freedoms and he dies-deprive him of a part of them and a part of him withers. Give them to him in full and abundant measure and he will cross the threshold of a new age, the greatest age of man.

These freedoms are the rights of men of every creed and every race, wherever they live. This is their heritage, long withheld. We of the United Nations have the power and the men and the will at last to assure man's heritage.

The belief in the four freedoms of common humanity-the belief in man, created free, in the image of God-is the crucial difference between ourselves and the enemies we face today. In it lies the absolute unity of our alliance, opposed to the oneness of the evil we hate. Here is our heritage, the source and promise of victory.

We of the United Nations know that our faith cannot be broken by any man or any force. And we know that there are other millions who in their silent captivity share our belief.

We ask the German people, still dominated by their Nazi whip-masters, whether they would rather have the mechanized hell of Hitler's "New" Order or-in place of that-freedom of speech and religion, freedom from want and from fear.

We ask the Japanese people, trampled by their savage lords of slaughter, whether they would rather continue slavery and blood or, in place of them-freedom of speech and religion, freedom from want and from fear.

We ask the brave, unconquered people of the nations the Axis invaders have dishonored and despoiled whether they would rather yield to conquerors or-have freedom of speech and religion, freedom from want and from fear.

We know the answer. They know the answer. We know that man, born to freedom in the image of God, will not forever suffer the oppressors' sword. The peoples of the United Nations are taking that sword from the oppressors' hands. With it they will destroy those tyrants. The brazen tyrannies pass. Man marches forward toward the light.

I am going to close by reading you a prayer that has been written for the United Nations on this Day:

"God of the free, we pledge our hearts and lives today to the cause of all free mankind.

"Grant us victory over the tyrants who would enslave all free men and nations. Grant us faith and understanding to cherish all those who fight for freedom as if they were our brothers. Grant us brotherhood in hope and union, not only for the space of this bitter war, but for the days to come which shall and must unite all the children of earth.

"Our earth is but a small star in the great universe. Yet of it we can make, if we choose, a planet unvexed by war, untroubled by hunger or fear, undivided by senseless distinctions of race, color or theory. Grant us that courage and foreseeing to begin this task today that our children and our children's children may be proud of the name of man.

"The spirit of man has awakened and the soul of man has gone forth. Grant us the wisdom and the vision to comprehend the greatness of man's spirit, that suffers and endures so hugely for a goal beyond his own brief span. Grant us honor for our dead who died in the faith, honor for our living who work and strive for the faith, redemption and security for all captive lands and peoples. Grant us patience with the deluded and pity for the betrayed. And grant us the skill and the valor that shall cleanse the world of oppression and the old base doctrine that the strong must eat the weak because they are strong.

"Yet most of all grant us brotherhood, not only for this day but for all our years-a brotherhood not of words but of acts and deeds. We are all of us children of earth-grant us that simple knowledge. If our brothers are oppressed, then we are oppressed. If they hunger, we hunger. If their freedom is taken away, our freedom is not secure. Grant us a common faith that man shall know bread and peace-that he shall know justice and righteousness, freedom and security, an equal opportunity and an equal chance to do his best, not only in our own lands, but throughout the world. And in that faith let us march, toward the clean world our hands can make. Amen."