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To Brigadier General Troup Miller
May 2, 1943 [Washington, D.C.]
Thanks very much for your thoughtful letter of Easter Sunday, which reached me this morning.1
I have a very vivid recollection of that Easter Service a year ago. It was most impressive on the one hand and, confidentially, there was an amusing twist on this other.
What actually happened was, Harry Hopkins and I were delayed in Bermuda by the failure of an engine on our plane. Therefore our attendance at the service at Dr. Strong’s church. I slept late that morning, the first opportunity for a couple of years, and when I turned out at ten o’clock General Wedemeyer told me the Governor had telephoned at nine, requesting that I read the Second Lesson. Wedemeyer had accepted for me. He had a Bible, the only one in the hotel, which had been obtained from the cook, and informed me that I was to read from the 4th to the 8th verse of the 1st Chapter of Revelations. He thought it wise for me to glance through these verses, against the possibility of some difficult words, however he said Alpha and Omega were the only two at all out of the ordinary.
As a result, I only read about two verses when Hopkins came in and interrupted, and I went to the church with that degree of preparation. When the Governor, Lord Knollys, read the First Lesson and returned to the pew, he gave me a pencilled slip giving the Second Lesson, which was from the 4th to the 18th verse instead of the 4th to the 8th. I have never taken the time to glance through the chapter since, but the reaction of my first glance was that the 9th to the 18th verses were heavily salted with the names of tribes, which made a difficult reading for a novice. I found support in the last tribe mentioned—the Philadelphians! At any event, on my arrival in England and first conference with the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, he immediately referred to the report he had heard of my impressive reading of the Second Lesson at the Easter Service in Bermuda.2
Thank you very much for writing as you did. I went to church this Easter with the Campbell Kings at Hendersonville, North Carolina. I had been inspecting a hospital of wounded nearby on Saturday afternoon.
With warm regards to Mrs. Miller and to you,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Miller (U.S.M.A., 1902) had been a member of the War Department General Staff, G-4 Division, and assistant to the secretary of the General Staff, 1921-24; he had been an instructor at the Army War College when Marshall taught there. Currently inspector general for the Eastern Defense Command at Governors Island, New York, Miller had been in Bermuda for ten days making a special inspection and had attended the same church that Marshall had visited on Easter Day 1942. “The minister, Mr. Strong, made such a beautiful reference to your presence there a year ago today and the profound impression you made when you read the second lesson for them that it has inspired me to write you this letter,” wrote Miller. “I wish you could have heard Mr. Strong’s gracious remarks and the beautiful tribute which he paid you. I was so thrilled by it all that I wanted you to know about it.” (Miller to Marshall, Easter Sunday [April 25], 1943, GCML/G. C. Marshall Papers [Pentagon Office, General].)
2. Describing the event to a friend, Marshall wrote that the assigned verses “revealed more unpronounceable words than I have ever seen collected in one chapter. At the end of a long list of tribes I found the familiar name of Philadelphia which I intoned in such an impressive manner that on my arrival in England the Prime Minister told me that he had learned that I had made a profound impression by my reading of the Second Lesson in Bermuda. The exact character of the impression he didn’t go into.” (Marshall to Mrs. Frederick M. Ayres, September 14, 1942, GCML/K. T. Marshall Collection.) For additional accounts of the reading, see Wedemeyer, Wedemeyer Reports! pp. 100-101; K. T. Marshall, Together, pp. 111-12.
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland and Sharon Ritenour Stevens(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 3, “The Right Man for the Job,” December 7, 1941-May 31, 1943 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991), pp. 673-674.