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 90 could still bear arms.
"The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc" a speech by President Ronald Reagan, Normandy, France June 6th, 1984.
On June 6th 1944 men from The United States, Canada, Great Britain, Free France and other nations conducted the invasion of Normandy. The beach landings, parachute assaults and glider attacks resulted in thousands of casualties among the soldiers who participated. Bravery, sacrifice and grit turned what might easily have been a horrible defeat into a tenuous but workable new front in the war against the criminals "leading" Germany.
Most of the men who participated in the D-Day battle have passed, the youngest among them approaching ninety years old. Soon, there will be no one who remembers the sound of the Higgins Boat engines, the whir of the ramp slamming into the wet sand (or, more likely four feet of cold angry Atlantic). Gone will be those who got the green light in rattling C-47s, leaping into a night sky filled with flying lead. The final "Boy from Pointe Du Hoc" will pass into history. All that will be left are the accounts...and the generations of free people who have bathed in the blessings of freedom, won in no small part on this day seventy years ago.
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. "The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc"