A nation was changing on this day 75 years ago. My grandfather lied to recruiters about his age to enlist in the Navy, join the war effort, and leave the failing family farm in coastal Georgia. Through his travels with the Navy, he met a girl from the Alabama Gulf Coast

I always wondered whether my grandfather heard FDR’s speech delivered on December 8, 1941. FDR intentionally worded the script to call Americans to action. He was effective.

Here are the hand-edited and final versions of FDR’s speech. You can see where he inserted urgency through changes in wording. He replaced “world history” with “infamy” and “simultaneously” with “suddenly.”

Words make a difference in how others respond to us. They can create futures, for good or for ill. Choose yours wisely.