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D-Day prayer at World War II Memorial approved by Congress

Congress approved the World War II Memorial Prayer Act (S. 1044). The House on Monday, June 21, 2014, approved the Senate version of the bill. If signed by President Barack Obama, it will require the U.S. Department of the Interior (DoI) to place a plaque on the National Mall in Washington, DC with the inscription of the prayer that Obama's distant predecessor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, gave to the nation on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

The plaque or inscription would go near the World War II Memorial. Funds for the plaque would have to be raised from non-federal sources. But DoI wold be responsible for designing, procuring and installing the plaque. The design of the plaque would have to comply with the Commemorative Works Act.

DoI could choose exactly where to place the plaque. Some organizations had raised objections. They complained that the design of the memorial was carefully vetted and should not be tampered with. They also argued that the plaque could take away from the original meaning of the memorial, which was to honor the 16 million Americans who served and 400,000 who died during the war.

The House passed the bill under suspension of the rules by an overwhelming vote of 370-12. The House ignored its own version of the bill, which had been reported May 29 by the Committee on Natural Resources. By doing so, no conference or second vote is necessary.

Congress deliberately scheduled the action around the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy in France. Legislation was originally introduced in 2011. The previous Congress failed to pass similar legislation and this version had been pending all along. The House approved the measure in 2012 but the Senate failed to act.

The prayer consists of 500 words. It is titled “Let Our Hearts Be Stout.”