Remembering the boys of Pointe du Hoc
June 6 is not a day for political infighting, or partisan gamesmanship. Rather, it is a day to remember when the armed forces of the Western democracies stormed the beaches, cliffs, and hillsides of Normandy in 1944.
The nearby video shows President Reagan delivering remarks at the 40th anniversary of D-Day at Pointe du Hoc. As we reflect on the sorry state of the West today, it is worth recalling Reagan's words about the men who scaled the Pointe's heights, not knowing whether they would live or die:
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 that 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, and 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.
The world still has tyrants bent on domination. And it remains the challenge and responsibility of the world's free peoples to stand against them. Many have risen to that challenge and, like the boys of Pointe du Hoc, paid a high price for it.
They men who landed on Normandy's beaches 73 years ago today answered the call, and sacrificed much, to bring a murderous regime to its knees. Today, we remember their actions -- their valor and sacrifice -- and thank God for the victory they won.