Image courtesy of Library of Congress
James Shera Montgomery served as House Chaplain for almost 29 years.
On this date, Congress held a Joint Session
to honor the memory of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. More than a year after the passing of the late President, the House introduced the Joint Session legislation (H. Con. Res. 152) on May 23, 1946, with the Senate agreeing to the resolution on June 1, 1946. The legislation created a joint committee to oversee the ceremony. The historic session included dignitaries from around the world as well as prominent figures in the U.S. government. With the rostrum covered in greens, Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn
of Texas opened the session. House Chaplain
James Shera Montgomery offered the invocation followed by Robert Merrill of the Metropolitan Opera Company who performed two solos. John Gilbert Winant of the United Nations Social and Economic Council, a personal friend of Roosevelt and former Ambassador to Great Britain, gave the address. Winant described his friend as, “Brave, steadfast, one who dared to see the facts, to face them, and to act; one who believed, who hoped.” Senate Chaplain Frederick Brown Harris offered the closing benediction and the Joint Session was dissolved. The Joint Session coincided with the 14th anniversary of Roosevelt’s first nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate in Chicago in 1932.