President Reagan commemoration "The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc"

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Trip_Wire, Jul 14, 2007.

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  1. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    (Sorry no link!)

    President Reagan commemoration "The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc"

    "We're here to mark that day in history when the Allied armies joined in battle to reclaim this continent to liberty. For four 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 forty 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 at the edge of the cliffs, shooting down at them with machine guns 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 two days of fighting, only ninety 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 here. 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 singed 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. 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 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 form 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 roll call of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore; The Royal Winniped 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 4:00 am., 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 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.

    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 forty years after the war. Because of this, allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as forty 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 someday 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're 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 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."

  2. A worthy tribute to very brave men. What's more, it's a useful reminder of exactly why "The Gipper" was such a great President: the careful inclusion of tributes to all who played their parts on that day: "The Great Communicator" indeed!
  3. You should be congratulating Peggy Noonan for that, not the man who once referred to army uniforms as "costumes" and, even while he was running for election in 1980 (long before Alzheimer's had apparently set in), he would regularly confuse things he'd seen in films with stories from the real world. (the apocryphal story about a B-17 pilot who held the hand of a trapped gunner as the aricraft went down in flames being just one example that springs to mind.)

    Great salesman, I'll admit. Quite personable too, by all accounts. But an absolute muppet when it came to anything that required any actual cognitive capacity.
  4. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP



    Who cares who wrote the speech!

    It was a great speech, about a VERY BRAVE BUNCH of Ranger soldiers! I'm sure Reagan meant to honor them, as well as the others mentioned! ! As I do, and every American, especially present day RANGERS!
  5. Just pointing out (to Wessex_Man) that there's no way on earth that the guy who once declared that "Facts are stupid things"; had to have Pentagon briefings delivered in cartoon format; and had to have basic points of information (including Gorbachev's name spelled phonetically) on flashcards at the Reykjavik summit could have come up with it.

    Fair play, though, he knew how to deliver a line.
  6. I'm guessing Pat Buchanan wrote the Bitburg speech. :roll:
  7. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

  8. Interesting link:

    Walting to the Israeli Prime Minister about his part in liberating the Death Camps. What an utter, utter cnut. I'm even happier that he's dead now. :roll:
  9. Apart from being an actor, why wasnt Reagon in WW2?...he wasnt actually that big until the 1950s anyway.
  10. Trip_Wire

    Trip_Wire RIP

    He did serve in the US Army Air Force!


    "In 1942, Lieutenant Ronald Reagan was called to active duty by the Army Air Force. Capitalizing on his film experience, Lt. Reagan was assigned to 1st Motion Picture Unit in Culver City, California where he assisted in the production of over 400 training films. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in 1943 and discharged on December 9th, 1945, allowing him to resume his acting career."

    BTW: Crabtastic, this is a 'better read' for a BIO on him then then the BBC slant. I sort of doubt, that you would care for any conservative, especially, a noted Republican like Reagan. :wink:
  11. I know enough about him already. Thanks, but that bio was worse than fcuking useless.

    The little vignette about his willingness to ingratiate himself to a foreign leader by using the single most brutal act in human history to make himself look good is sickening and shows the true measure of the man- either he had no sense of truth and honour and would say or do anything to further his objectives or he was a delusional and senile fool with no grip on reality. Such bare-faced and shameless Waltishness just about puts the icing on the cake.
  12. Alright Crab how about you leave President Reagan alone, you may not like the man but he was a good guy, and your going a bit overboard. So how about you move out and draw fire.
  13. So, he made you all feel good for a while. So can a $10 whore.But, like a $10 whore, the after effects can be somewhat nasty.

    Tell me the reasons why you think he was a good guy and I'll give you many more reasons why he wasn't. You spams have been lauding the creation of the stolen valor act of late, tell me exactly how this brazen display of his in front of Peres was any different.
  14. Crab I really do not care about your reasoning etc etc, you just seem to dislike anything or anybody American.
    Although the Ninja Turtle is quite amusing...
  15. Do I really have to spell it out again? I've had this conversation with Trip, Ctauch and Dogface already. I've seen your posts and you seen to make some sense every now and then. I would have liked to have thought that you'd be able to figure out the difference between reflexive anti-Americanism and critiques of US foreign and defense policy. Too bad.

    I'm perfectly willing to spell out the precise problems I have with Reagan and his successors in the Bush administration, but evidently you can be bothered to debate them.