Rewriting History

A date which will live in infamy.

It's one of the most iconic phrases in history, penned by Franklin Delano Roosevelt after the December 7, 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Yet it almost didn't come out that way. Roosevelt dictated the speech to his secretary, to be delivered to Congress on December 8. No speechwriters were involved, and the presidential archives still have a copy of the typed text, heavily revised in pencil by the president's hand.

In the original, unedited message, the draft began as follows:

Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in world history…”

Words matter. So do second drafts.