President Gordon B. Hinckley was cited Feb. 25 for his "sterling example for truth, honesty, and love to the men and women of the United States Army Reserve."
The prophet received the citation during a National Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the 96th Regional Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve, stationed at Fort Douglas, adjacent to the University of Utah. Maj. Gen. Richard F. Reeder, commander of the 96th, presented the citation, which was mounted on a piece of slate from the roof of one of the buildings at the historic fort.Before receiving the citation, President Hinckley addressed the some 400 gathered at a Salt Lake City hotel. He referred to the motto inscribed on U.S. currency and coinage: "In God We Trust."
"I know of no other nation that has such a motto. Others use the phrase,
By the Grace of God.' But none other categorically states,In God We Trust.'
"When that statement was adopted it was believed in," President Hinckley continued. "It came of our great Judeo-Christian inheritance. I think we were then a humbler people than perhaps we are today. The recognition of God, seeking His help in prayer, and giving honor and glory to Him, have been characteristic of our nation's history."
The Church president quoted the words of George Washington during his inaugural address April 30, 1789: " `No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency.' "
President Hinckley then noted how the people of this nation once gathered their families together for prayer. "They remembered before Deity this nation and its leaders. That practice is largely disappearing from our society. Are we forgetting the Almighty, who in times of last resort is our greatest strength?
"When we fail to acknowledge Deity, when we fail to recognize the Almighty as the ruling power of the universe, the all-important element of personal and national accountability shrivels and dies. I am confident that this is one of the reasons for the great host of social problems with which we deal these days. Teen pregnancy, abandoned families, failure to recognize the property and rights of others, general incivility have resulted in large measure, I am satisfied, from failure to recognize that there is a God to whom someday each of us must give an accounting."
President Hinckley spoke of a recent visit to Vietnam, where war once raged. "No one can calculate the pain, the death incident to that conflict. This was the result of a system of government created under a philosophy that ruled out God and declared that religion is only the opiate of the people."
In contrast, he spoke of the "stirring" pictures of General Washington kneeling in prayer on behalf of the men of the Continental Army at Valley Forge.
"We are secularizing America," President Hinckley declared. "We are closing the door on the Almighty. I plead with each of you to add your strength to the enhancement of our trust in God. This is the foundation upon which our national strength is laid."