Today, June 6, 2015, marks the 71st anniversary of D-Day, the allied landing on the beaches of Normandy, which marked the beginning of the liberation of Europe from German fascism.
On its 40th anniversary, then-President Ronald Reagan delivered one of his most famous speeches, “The boys of Pointe du Hoc,” in which he expressed pride in the valor and bravery of the allied forces.
“Here in Normandy, the rescue began,” Reagan said. “Here the Allies stood and fought against tyranny in a giant undertaking unparalleled in human history.”
Reagan described the undertaking of the allied forces against seemingly insurmountable odds.
The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers — 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 2 days of fighting, only 90 could still bear arms.
And then he delivered the line that gave the speech its name.
“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.”
In contrast, President Barack Obama marked D-Day by expressing pride in undocumented immigrants:
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