I can’t believe this is the fourth and final post for the month of June – our last post to commemorate the Normandy Invasion of 1944. Earlier this month, world leaders met on the Normandy shores to remember the events that took place there and speeches were made to honor the sacrifices.
Today, we’re going to look at some quotes from United States’ President Ronald Reagan’s address at the 40th commemoration of D-day. Without further commentary, here are some excerpts from his speech:
“The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge – and pray God we have not lost it – that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.”
“You all know that some things are worth dying for. One’s country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it’s the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty…”
“The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They…felt in their hearts, though they couldn’t know in fact, that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.”
US troops during the Normandy Invasion, June 1944
“Something else helped the men of D-day: their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause. And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer, he told them, ‘Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we’re about to do.’ Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: ‘I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.'”
“These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies…”
“…let us show them by our actions that we understand what they died for. Let our actions say to them the words for which Matthew Ridgway listened: ‘I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.’ Strengthened by their courage, heartened by their valor and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.”
I believe that President Reagan’s speech is one of the most inspirational ever delivered at the Normandy commemorations.
I hope that the history we’ve discussed in the last few weeks and these inspiring words of honor will challenge you “to continue to stand for the ideals” of American patriotism.
P.S. We’ll have a new topic for the month of July. Watch for the first July post on Thursday the 3rd. (Yeah, it’ll be one day early since Friday is a holiday: 4th of July!) I’ll give you one hint for next month’s topic: He’s one of the best known heroes of the Battle of Gettysburg.
Please leave a comment if you’ve enjoyed the Normandy Invasion posts or want to guess who will be featured in July!