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The Daily Prayer, September 2, 1945

by Nov 30, 2019

The following are excerpts, pages 147 – 150, from the Reminiscences of Captain Roland W. Faulk, CHC, USN, 1937 – 1968, a 465-page bound edition of transcripts from a series of oral history interviews with Captain Faulk, held during the week of November 10, 1974, conducted by John T. Mason, Jr. at the request of the Chaplain Corps under the aegis of the Oral History Program of the U.S. Naval Institute. These excerpts are specific to the prayer given prior to the start of the September 2, 1945 Surrender Ceremony aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay. It is provided in response to inquiries about the specific timing of the prayer in relation to the ceremony.

Ch. F.: We had a custom in the Missouri like most of the ships that had chaplains during the war in which daily prayers were said over the ship’s loudspeaker system. More often than not this was done at sundown or at taps or at some other time of the day.

Q: Did every activity cease during that time?

CH. F.: To an extent. Everybody stood mute, games stopped, and everything was quieted down. It was very significant to see it happen – everybody on the ship stopped and stood still, paused, and listened, and gave every evidence of at least participating in the prayers. I never saw an instance where there was anything untoward or disrespectful at all in that moment. It was only 20 or 30 seconds of prayer.

Captain “Sunshine” Murray, our skipper, decided it would be more appropriate instead of having our prayer in the evening if we had it as a prelude to the surrender at eight o’clock. The surrender ceremony was due at nine and we’d have a prayer said over the ship’s loudspeaker system at eight o’clock. So I did the prayer.

I used the microphone which was far from the surrender scene and, as was the custom, we called “Attention all hands! Stand by for evening prayer.” That would be the way we’d introduce it each time, except on this occasion I merely indicated that instead of our evening prayer the commanding officer had requested that we offer a prayer before the surrender ceremony. Here’s the prayer I used on that occasion. (

Q: You composed it?

Ch. F.: Yes.:

“Eternal God, Father of all living, we offer our sincere prayer of thanksgiving to Thee on this day, which we not dedicate to peace among the nations, remembering another Sabbath day that was desecrated by the beginning of this brutal war. We are thankful that those who have loved peace have been rewarded with victory over those who have loved war. May it ever be so! On this day of deliverance we pray for those who, through long years, have been imprisoned, destitute, sick, and forsaken. Heal their bodies and their spirits, O God, for their wounds are grievous and deep. May the scars which they bear remind us that victory is not bought without cost and peace is not without price. May we never forget those who have paid the cost of our victory and our peace. On this day of surrender we turn hopefully from war to peace, from destroying to building, from killing to saving. But peace without justice we know is hopeless and justice without mercy thou wilt surely despise. Help us, therefore, O God, to do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly before thee. We pray for Thy servant, the President of the United States, and for all the leaders of all lands that they may be endowed with wisdom sufficient for their great tasks. Grant unto all the peoples of the earth knowledge of Thee with courage and faith to abide within the shelter of They sovereign law. Amen.”

Ch. F.: That’s the prayer that was used on that occasion.

After the prayer, I remember there were admirals and generals all around and they seemed to be most appreciative of that moment. They had stopped for that. Then the representatives of the Allied Powers began to gather.

Note: according to the USS Missouri War Diary, at 0700 [Action Report: 0707 - 0733] newsmen and cameramen arrived aboard. During the next hour and a half, [Action Report: 0803 – 0824] high ranking Army and Naval officers of all the Allied Powers arrived aboard; FADM Nimitz arrived aboard shortly after 0800 [Action Report: 0805]; General MacArthur came aboard at 0843.

Top Right Image: Aboard USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, Japan’s Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Instrument of Surrender, assisted by Toshikazu Kase, with Lt. General Richard Sutherland observing.