The Power of the Word
Some of the most timeless words ever uttered in a speech by an American president were inspired by a poem with an illustrious history of its own.
In Hollywood in the 1940s, movie stars came to Kathryn Kay for the poems she wrote for special occasions. One day, the wife of Hobart Bosworth, a well-known movie star, bought a copy of Kay’s book If the Shoe Fits and immediately fell in love with the patriotic poem Thanksgiving Prayer.
The poem was read on the radio by Mrs. Bosworth’s famous husband on Thanksgiving Day, 1941. The occasion was the 150th anniversary of the State of New Jersey’s ratification of the Bill of Rights.
Later Mrs. Bosworth personally presented a framed copy of the poem to President and Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt in appreciation of Eleanor Roosevelt’s tireless efforts to promote the cultural arts.
The Bosworth’s also had the poem cast in a bronze plaque, which was to be presented at a Southern California Bill of Rights commemoration on December 7, 1941. But early that morning the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
Years later, after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Kathryn Kay got a call from Washington lobbyist Charles Siems. He said President Kennedy had heard the 1941 radio broadcast of the poem upon his graduation from Harvard and was greatly moved by it, especially the final line: “God, help me make America as proud that I am hers—as I am proud and grateful she is mine.” Some 20 years later, that sentiment surfaced in Kennedy’s mind. He expressed it in some of the most memorable words ever uttered in one of the most famous speeches in American history: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Just as President’s Kennedy’s words held the power to inspire a nation, there’s one word that should inspire you because your happiness and your livelihood depend on it. That word is “safety.”
A Word to the Wise: Safety
* Copyright 2002 Harkins Safety (B158)