The news did not specify the contents of this opening prayer, but in 1951, the 82nd Congress “convened . . . in an atmosphere of international crisis” and faced “grave decisions affecting the peace of the world and the American way of life.” Serious questions of potential nuclear warfare overshadowed the day, and Speaker Sam Rayburn took the occasion of his fifth election as presiding officer to warn Congress that the United States “cannot wrap two oceans around itself and stay safe and free.” However, in one aspect, this Congress was more secure than it had been in years. Years of renovations to the House Chamber, including the replacement of the badly deteriorated roof, were completed just two days before opening day.