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First, Last, and Inbetween

December 2, 2015

He began by asking everyone to bow their heads.

He could have prayed for the success of his program, but instead he asked God to “make full and complete our dedication to the service of the people.”

He could have prayed for prosperity, but instead he asked God for “the power to discern clearly right from wrong.”

He could have prayed for vindication of his political ideology, but instead he asked “that all may work for the good of our beloved country and Thy [i.e. God’s] glory.”

He concluded with an “Amen,” and then began to deliver his first inaugural address.

When he spoke of inalienable rights, he remembered these as “gifts of the Creator.”

When he spoke of “dedication and devotion to the precepts of the founding documents,” he also mentioned “the watchfulness of Divine Providence.”

After listing nine principles that he hoped would lead to peace, he concluded by stating: “This is the work that awaits us all, to be done with bravery, with charity, and with prayer to Almighty God.”

The first two words of the President’s prayer and the last two words of his first inaugural address were “Almighty God.” The intervening paragraphs called the nation to action while acknowledging the need for dependence upon Almighty God. This was not stagecraft but heart felt sentiment. That’s just how Dwight Eisenhower was.

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