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Möte POL_INC, 14731 texter
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Text 14731, 91 rader
Skriven 2013-06-06 21:40:14 av Earl Croasmun (1:261/38)
Ärende: Reagan at Normandy
==========================
Ronald Reagan, thirty years ago today, and Charles was in the audience:



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.''

. . .

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.

. . .

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

--- BBBS/Li6 v4.10 Dada-1
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