6/06/2009

Overlord at 65

Sixty-five years ago today, thousands of American, British, Canadian, French and Polish troops stormed ashore in the Normandy invasion that marked the beginning of the liberation of Europe from Nazi control. The carefully drawn battle plan, as usually happens, did not survive first contact with the enemy. But the courage and sacrifice of the men on the beaches was not in vain.

Those who are left are now in their 80s and even 90s. We owe them a debt that can never be fully repaid. Twenty-five years ago President Reagan concluded his remarks on the fortieth anniversary of the invasion with these words:

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 knew 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. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

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