By Bill Federer, staff writer
Navy torpedo boat PT 109 was rammed AUGUST 2, 1943, by a Japanese destroyer and sunk. The commander sustained permanent back injuries yet helped survivors swim miles to shore, which unfortunately was behind enemy lines in the Solomon Islands. After a daring rescue, he was awarded the Medal of heroism. Though one of his brothers was killed in the war, he went on to become a Congressman, Senator, and the 35th U.S. President. His name was John F. Kennedy, who stated in his Inaugural Address: “Let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God’s work must truly be our own.” In the White House Rose Garden, November 21, 1961, John F. Kennedy said: “When we all – regardless of our particular religious convictions – draw our guidance and inspiration, and really, in a sense, moral direction, from the same general area, the Bible, the Old and the New Testaments, we have every reason to believe that our various religious denominations should live together in the closest harmony.” Kennedy concluded: “The basic presumption of the moral law, the existence of God, man’s relationship to Him – there is generally consensus on those questions.” At the Presidential Prayer Breakfast, February 9, 1961, President John F. Kennedy stated: “This country was founded by men and women…dedicated to two propositions: first, a strong religious conviction, and secondly a recognition that this conviction could flourish only under a system of freedom…The Puritans and the Pilgrims of my own section of New England, the Quakers of Pennsylvania, the Catholics of Maryland, the Presbyterians of North Carolina, the Methodists and Baptists who came later, all shared these two great traditions which, like silver threads, have run through the warp and the woof of American history…” Kennedy continued: “Let us go forth to lead this land that we love, joining in the prayer of General George Washington in 1783, ‘that God would have you in His holy protection…that He would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with…the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, without an humble imitation of whose example we can never hope to be a happy nation.’” President Kennedy concluded: “The guiding principle and prayer of this Nation has been, is now, and ever shall be ‘In God We Trust.’”
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