Seventy-five Years Ago Today

Today is the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, the day that Americans, Canadians, and British soldiers combined resources and efforts to stop the advance of tyranny and genocide across Europe.

This is the speech President Reagan gave on June 6, 1984, to commemorate those who fought bravely on that day:

We’re here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For 4 long years, much of Europe had been under a terrible shadow. Free nations had fallen, Jews cried out in the camps, millions cried out for liberation. Europe was enslaved, and the world prayed for its rescue. Here in Normandy the rescue began. Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.

We stand on a lonely, windswept point on the northern shore of France. The air is soft, but 40 years ago at this moment, the air was dense with smoke and the cries of men, and the air was filled with the crack of rifle fire and the roar of cannon. At dawn, on the morning of the 6th of June, 1944, 225 Rangers jumped off the British landing craft and ran to the bottom of these cliffs. Their mission was one of the most difficult and daring of the invasion: to climb these sheer and desolate cliffs and take out the enemy guns. The Allies had been told that some of the mightiest of these guns were here and they would be trained on the beaches to stop the Allied advance.

The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — the edge of the cliffs shooting down at them with machineguns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe. Two hundred and twenty-five came here. After 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.

Behind me is a memorial that symbolizes the Ranger daggers that were thrust into the top of these cliffs. And before me are the men who put them there.

These are the boys of Pointe du Hoc. These are the men who took the cliffs. These are the champions who helped free a continent. These are the heroes who helped end a war.

Gentlemen, I look at you and I think of the words of Stephen Spender’s poem. You are men who in your “lives fought for life . . . and left the vivid air signed with your honor.”

I think I know what you may be thinking right now — thinking “we were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day.” Well, everyone was. Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders? Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren’t. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.

Lord Lovat was with him — Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, “Sorry I’m a few minutes late,” as if he’d been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he’d just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.

There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold, and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had already seen the horrors of war on this coast. They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

All of these men were part of a rollcall of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland’s 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England’s armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard’s “Matchbox Fleet” and you, the American Rangers.

Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love.

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.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought — or 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.

Something else helped the men of D-day: their rockhard 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.

When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured. These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together.

There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall plan led to the Atlantic alliance — a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.

In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin. Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They’re still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost 40 years after the war. Because of this, allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as 40 years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose — to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest.

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two World Wars: It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost. We’ve learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.

But we try always to be prepared for peace; prepared to deter aggression; prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms; and, yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.

It’s fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II: 20 million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war. I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want to wipe from the face of the Earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands. And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.

We will pray forever that some day that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.

We are bound today by what bound us 40 years ago, the same loyalties, traditions, and beliefs. We’re bound by reality. The strength of America’s allies is vital to the United States, and the American security guarantee is essential to the continued freedom of Europe’s democracies. We were with you then; we are with you now. Your hopes are our hopes, and your destiny is our destiny.

Here, in this place where the West held together, let us make a vow to our dead. 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 value [valor], and borne by their memory, let us continue to stand for the ideals for which they lived and died.

Thank you very much, and God bless you all.

President Ronald Reagan – June 6, 1984

Many of us have fathers or grandfathers who fought in France that day. We are grateful for their bravery and for their clarity of purpose. They understood that there was evil in the world and they sought to defeat it. We need that clarity today.

However You Feel About The Results, The Turnout Was Impressive

Yesterday, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the rejection of separating from the United Kingdom by the voters of Scotland. In his article, Mr. Mirengoff refers to a previous article in which he listed his reasons for supporting Scottish independence. In that previous article, he points out that the majority of the people who represent Scotland in Parliament are Labor Party members. If Scotland were to leave the United Kingdom, the Labor Party would have a difficult time forming future governments in England.

Fox News reported on the referendum today. In an 85 percent voter turnout, Scots voted 55 percent to 45 to say with the United Kingdom.

Fox News reports:

Many saw it as a “heads versus hearts” campaign, with cautious older Scots concluding that independence would be too risky financially, while younger ones were enamored with the idea of building their own country.

The result saves Cameron from a historic defeat and also helps opposition chief Ed Miliband by keeping his many Labour Party lawmakers in Scotland in place. His party would have found it harder to win a national election in 2015 without that support from Scotland.

For his part, Cameron — aware that his Conservative Party is widely loathed in Scotland – had previously begged voters not to use a vote for independence as a way to bash his party.

The vote against independence keeps the U.K. from losing a substantial part of its territory and oil reserves and prevents it from having to find a new base for its nuclear arsenal, now housed in Scotland. It had also faced a possible loss of influence within international institutions including the 28-nation European Union and the United Nations.

The decision also means Britain can avoid a prolonged period of financial insecurity that had been predicted by some if Scotland broke away.

I am sure this issue will come up again in the future, but for now the United Kingdom is intact and has avoided the chaos and political turmoil that would have come with Scottish independence.

The Dangers Of Political Correctness

The story that recently came out of Rotherham England is extremely upsetting. The U.K. Telegraph posted a story on Sunday about the sexual abuse of at least 1,400 children over 16 years. The fact that this continued over a sixteen-year period is horrendous. These children can never buy back their innocence. They will probably never fully recover from the damage that was done when the abuse continued for sixteen years without being addressed. The really scary fact here is that the authorities were hesitant to pursue reports of the abuse because they did not want to be called racists. That is truly sad. People in charge were afraid to stand up for justice because it might not be politically correct.

The article reports:

The Rotherham scandal and a series of cases in towns including Rochdale highlighted how evidence of Pakistani men targeting white girls for abuse was repeatedly played down for fear of accusations of racism.

Mr Danczuk (Simon Danczuk, who helped expose a pattern of grooming of white teenage girls by men from a Pakistani background in Rochdale, where he is the Labour MP) said the elements of Pakistani political culture itself were partly to blame for the cover-up.

“There are cultural issues around the way politics are done in the Asian community which have to change,” he said.

He said he had personally come under pressure from Asian councillors and members of the community for speaking out as well as being warned by prominent figures in his party.

He pointed to the way in which two Muslim councillors in Rochdale had provided character references for one of the perpetrators of the Rochdale abuse.

Politics are done differently in Pakistan, it is a cultural difference we have imported some of that into some of these northern towns and cities and I think we have to face up to the fact that we can’t carry on doing politics like that.

“It is not healthy and the direct consequence is that we end up having to tackle issues like has been faced in Rotherham.”

He described it as “a looking after your own” within the Asian community which other politicians had accepted.

This is the danger in allowing an immigrant population to settle in a country and not assimilate. We have the same problem in America. I am not opposed to legal immigration, but when you bring in a population and do not teach them how America (or Britain) works, you may find that population doing things that are considered illegal here.

The role of women in Britain and America is very different from the role of women in Muslim countries. We need to make sure that young girls and women who live in America and Britain are treated with the respect the law grants them. In Muslim countries, under Sharia Law, women have no legal standing. Rape is not rape unless a woman has male witnesses to confirm that it was a rape. A women can be jailed or killed for being raped in a Muslim country. We do not need those laws or that attitude here. Immigrants should be welcomed, but they should also be required to understand that all citizens have rights in America and Britain–not just male citizens.

 

America Needs To Learn The Lesson Britain Just Learned

Yesterday the U.K. Daily Mail posted an article about what is happening to the British workforce–it is growing and unemployment is going down!

The article reports:

A record 3,100 people every day are finding work as Britain’s jobless total falls at the fastest rate in 17 years.

The number of unemployed tumbled to 2.32million – falling by 167,000 between September and November, the biggest drop since 1997.

Yesterday the Office for National Statistics said the unemployment rate is now at 7.1 per cent after falling faster than any economist or the Bank (Bank of England) predicted.

…In an unusually political statement, the Bank also said the Coalition’s benefits clampdown may have pushed more people into looking for work, rather than continuing to rely on State handouts. It said: ‘A tightening in the eligibility requirements for some State benefits might also have led to an intensification of job search.’ 

Meanwhile, Congress in America is debating extending unemployment benefits.

Statistics have shown that people collecting unemployment insurance tend to intensify their search for work as their unemployment benefits begin to run out. Extending unemployment or increasing welfare benefits does not encourage people to join the work force–it destroys motivation. In most cases, it is simply more fun not to have to get up and go to work every morning. When the government subsidizes not working, more people don’t work. I am not saying that we should end unemployment or welfare, but we should put enough restrictions on both to prevent generations of America who have not grasped the concept of working for a living. America needs to follow the example of Great Britain.

 

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