It is hard to believe thirty years have passed since President Reagan commemorated the 40th Anniversary of D-Day – in person.
I feel his love and support for our military – and Nancy – is without question.
But few people recall that President Reagan gave not one, but TWO stirring and emotional speeches that day at Normandy.
The first and most replayed speech was the one at Pointe du Hoc, flanked by surviving soldiers of the United States Army Ranger Assault Group.
Below is an average shell crater at Pointe du Hoc; that is my daughter standing in it back in 1999:
Shortly afterwards, President Reagan gave a second speech… in front of The Wall of the Missing at Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. Private Zanatta was in the first wave hitting Omaha Beach; his daughter Liz wrote to President Reagan about what her father told her about that day. During this speech and while reading passages from the letter, even the unflappable President Reagan becomes overwhelmed with emotion. While the beginning of the video contains important recordings from that day in 1944, his emotion-laden speech begins at the 0:30 mark:
I feel this is one of his most moving speeches. At the end, he says, “…a D-Day veteran has shown us the meaning of this day far better than any President can.”
I pray in my own way for those young souls who were killed – on both sides – as well as their families.
We will not see a mass of humanity assembled for such purposes ever again…and the remaining representatives of that humanity are leaving us each day.