Franklin Roosevelt's Christmas Eve Message to the Nation

December 24, 1941

In today's world of unrest and the threat of global terrorism, the preamble to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's message to the nation on Christmas Eve, 1941, remains disturbingly relevant.

Fellow workers for freedom:

There are many men and women in Americasincere and faithful men and women—who are asking themselves this Christmas:

How can we light our trees?

How can we give our gifts?

How can we meet and worship with love and with uplifted spirit and heart in a world at war, a world of fighting and suffering and death?

How can we pause, even for a day, even for Christmas Day, in our urgent labor of arming a decent humanity against the enemies which beset it?

How can we put the world aside, as men and women put the world aside in peaceful years, to rejoice in the birth of Christ?

These are natural—inevitable—questions in every part of the world which is resisting the evil thing.

And even as we ask these questions, we know the answer.  There is another preparation demanded of this Nation beyond and beside the preparation of weapons and materials of war.  There is demanded also of us the preparation of our hearts; the arming of our hearts.  And when we make ready our hearts for the labor and the suffering and the ultimate victory which lie ahead, then we observe Christmas Day—with all of its memories and all of its meanings—as we should.


G. Peters and J. T. Woolley, "Franklin D. Roosevelt: Christmas Eve Message to the Nation," The American Presidency Project (1999-2016),



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