VJ Day Radio Prayer: Command Performance from Armed Forces Radio VJ Day 1945

vj day

I recently ran across an amazing program that was broadcast over the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) just after VJ Day in 1945. The show was broadcast live over AFRS stations all over the world.

The Command Performance was a regular show on AFRS featuring Hollywood stars. The shows were typically recorded and played on local AFRS stations with the troops.  This one was broadcast live on AFRS stations overseas and across the US.

The whole show is essentially a prayer to God (who is actually mentioned by name!)  Begins with a prayer by the head US Army Chaplain giving thanks “thorough Christ Our Lord, Amen”… Includes an address by President Truman and literallly every big Hollywood star of the day.. Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, Orson Welles, Dinah Shore, Frances Langford. It even includes Frank Sinatra introducing Bing who sings “White Christmas.”. This show was just after the nuclear bombs were dropped. Gives a hint that America was coming to know her special place in the world – by God’s grace.  Hard to imagine anything like this happening today…

The link is below. Scroll down to program #167


To Service Men and Women Everywhere:

The Armed Forces Radio Service presents this your special broadcast commemorating victory. On it your Commander in Chief the president of the United States will deliver a special message to you the men and women of the victorious armed forces at home, abroad and on the high seas.

We take you first to Washington for an invocation by Brigadier General Luther D. Miller, Chief of Chaplains United States Army:

“Almighty God, with grateful hearts we bow to give thee thanks for the Victory which thou has given to us and our allied nations. In this our hour of triumph may we not loose sight of the opportunity which we have won. That may we give ourselves anew to Thy service for the welfare of all mankind. Remember oh God all who have suffered in battle. Heal the wounded. Comfort the sorrowing. Restore the oppressed. Encourage the anxious and guide with thy might all who seek to serve their fellow men. May we be worthy of the sacrifice of those who gave themselves for this moment. And may the heartaches and sorrows of the years which have past find relief in the joy of peace. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

Bing Crosby:

Yep.. the shooting’s over.. the big guns are still. Once again a bazooka is something Robin Burns plays on his radio program and the tank is what you fill up at a gasoline station – no coupons necessary. A lot of husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, sons and mothers are closer together tonight than they have been in four long years. Thank God it’s over.

Crosby again.. Thanksgiving came early this year – in September. And it’s being celebrated today throughout the free world. In the bitter years just passed a lot of families have been separated. Families of individuals and families of nations. Now we are getting back together again. It’s a little early for an all out get together on the front porch. We can’t all throw our arms around each other and sing “Auld Lang Syne.” There are too may round trip tickets to be punched first. But we have got most of the radio stations in the world tied together tonight. Sort of a Marconi Handshake across a couple of oceans. We are offering thanks together tonight. All of us at home. And all of us away from home.

Dinah, How about one of the greatest Thanksgiving Songs of them all?

(Dinah Shore sings “America the Beautiful”)

O beautiful for spacious skies,

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet

Whose stern impassioned stress

A thoroughfare of freedom beat

Across the wilderness!

America! America!

God mend thine every flaw,

Confirm thy soul in self-control,

Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved

In liberating strife.

Who more than self their country loved

And mercy more than life!

America! America!

May God thy gold refine

Till all success be nobleness

And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream

That sees beyond the years

Thine alabaster cities gleam

Undimmed by human tears!

America! America!

God shed his grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood



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