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Friday, June 6, 2014

President Reagan's D-Day Remembrance Speech Still Resonates: Video, Transcript

By Rick Pearcey • June 6, 2014, 06:22 AM

Cathy Burke writes at Newsmax:

President Ronald Reagan was the first sitting president to attend a D-Day anniversary observance in Normandy, and his emotional remembrance on the 40th anniversary on June 6, 1984, has been described as one of his most memorable speeches.

Joining him, 30 years ago Friday, were surviving members of an Army Rangers team that had scaled cliffs at Pointe du Hoc [Google map] to silence German guns protecting the Normandy beaches.

Here is video of President Reagan's remarks delivered June 6, 1984, and below is a transcript:

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 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 climb 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."

I think I know what you may be thinking right now -- thinking "we were just part of a bigger effort; everyone was brave that day." Well, everyone was.

Do you remember the story of Bill Millin of the 51st Highlanders?

Forty years ago today, British troops were pinned down near a bridge, waiting desperately for help. Suddenly, they heard the sound of bagpipes, and some thought they were dreaming. Well, they weren't. They looked up and saw Bill Millin with his bagpipes, leading the reinforcements and ignoring the smack of the bullets into the ground around him.

Lord Lovat was with him -- Lord Lovat of Scotland, who calmly announced when he got to the bridge, "Sorry I'm a few minutes late," as if he'd been delayed by a traffic jam, when in truth he'd just come from the bloody fighting on Sword Beach, which he and his men had just taken.

There was the impossible valor of the Poles who threw themselves between the enemy and the rest of Europe as the invasion took hold and the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who had
already seen the horrors of war on this coast.

They knew what awaited them there, but they would not be deterred. And once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.

All of these men were part of a rollcall of honor with names that spoke of a pride as bright as the colors they bore: the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, Poland's 24th Lancers, the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the Screaming Eagles, the Yeomen of England's armored divisions, the forces of Free France, the Coast Guard's "Matchbox Fleet" and you, the American Rangers.

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 people of your countries were behind you.

The Americans who fought here that morning knew word of the invasion was spreading through the darkness back home. They fought -- or felt in their hearts, though they couldn't know in fact that in Georgia they were filling the churches at 4 a.m., in Kansas they were kneeling on their porches and praying, and in Philadelphia they were ringing the Liberty Bell.

Something else helped the men of D-day: their rockhard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause.

And, so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what we're about to do.

Also that night, General Matthew Ridgway on his cot, listening in the darkenss for the promise God made to Joshua: "I will not fail thee nor forsake thee."

These are the things that impelled them; these are the things that shaped the unity of the Allies.

When the war was over, there were lives to be rebuilt and governments to be returned to the people. There were nations to be reborn. Above all, there was a new peace to be assured.

These were huge and daunting tasks. But the Allies summoned strength from the faith, belief, loyalty, and love of those who fell here. They rebuilt a new Europe together.

There was first a great reconciliation among those who had been enemies, all of whom had suffered so greatly. The United States did its part, creating the Marshall plan to help rebuild our allies and our former enemies. The Marshall plan led to the Atlantic alliance -- a great alliance that serves to this day as our shield for freedom, for prosperity, and for peace.

In spite of our great efforts and successes, not all that followed the end of the war was happy or planned. Some liberated countries were lost. The great sadness of this loss echoes down to our own time in the streets of Warsaw, Prague, and East Berlin.

Soviet troops that came to the center of this continent did not leave when peace came. They're still there, uninvited, unwanted, unyielding, almost 40 years after the war.

Because of this, allied forces still stand on this continent. Today, as 40 years ago, our armies are here for only one purpose -- to protect and defend democracy. The only territories we hold are memorials like this one and graveyards where our heroes rest.

We in America have learned bitter lessons from two World Wars: It is better to be here ready to protect the peace, than to take blind shelter across the sea, rushing to respond only after freedom is lost.

We've learned that isolationism never was and never will be an acceptable response to tyrannical governments with an expansionist intent.

But we try always to be prepared for peace; prepared to deter aggression; prepared to negotiate the reduction of arms; and, yes, prepared to reach out again in the spirit of reconciliation. In truth, there is no reconciliation we would welcome more than a reconciliation with the Soviet Union, so, together, we can lessen the risks of war, now and forever.

It's fitting to remember here the great losses also suffered by the Russian people during World War II: 20 million perished, a terrible price that testifies to all the world the necessity of ending war.

I tell you from my heart that we in the United States do not want war. We want to wipe from the face of the Earth the terrible weapons that man now has in his hands.

And I tell you, we are ready to seize that beachhead. We look for some sign from the Soviet Union that they are willing to move forward, that they share our desire and love for peace, and that they will give up the ways of conquest. There must be a changing there that will allow us to turn our hope into action.

We will pray forever that some day that changing will come. But for now, particularly today, it is good and fitting to renew our commitment to each other, to our freedom, and to the alliance that protects it.

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.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"I Blame Her" -- Benghazi Mom Rips Hillary: Video

By Rick Pearcey • May 8, 2013, 10:26 AM

"Pat Smith's son Sean Smith, a State Department information officer, was one of four Americans killed during the attack" on the U.S. mission in Benghazi Sept. 11, 2012, reports RealClearPolitics.

Here are the transcript and video of that interview.

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Monday, February 20, 2012

George Washington's Farewell Address

By Rick Pearcey • February 20, 2012, 08:04 AM

Among other things, the Father of Our Country wrote in 1796: "Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports."


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bachmann SOTU Response: "Follow Our Constitution" -- Video, Transcript

By Rick Pearcey • January 26, 2011, 02:23 PM

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota delivered the Tea Party response (video) to President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech last night. Here is a transcript of her remarks:

Good evening. My name is Congresswoman Michele Bachmann from Minnesota's 6th District.

I want to thank the Tea Party Express and Tea Party HD for inviting me to speak this evening. I'm here at their request and not to compete with the official Republican remarks.

The Tea Party is a dynamic force for good in our national conversation, and it's an honor for me to speak with you.

Two years ago, when Barack Obama became our president, unemployment was 7.8%, and our national debt stood at what seemed like a staggering $10.6 trillion. We wondered whether the president would cut spending, reduce the deficit, and implement real job-creating policies.

Unfortunately, the president's strategy for recovery was to spend a trillion dollars on a failed stimulus program, fueled by borrowed money. The White House promised us that all the spending would keep unemployment under 8%.

Not only did that plan fail to deliver, but within three months, the national jobless rate spiked to 9.4%. It hasn't been lower for 20 straight months. While the government grew, we lost more than 2 million jobs.

Let me show you a chart. Here are unemployment rates over the past 10 years. In October of 2001, our national unemployment rate was at 5.3%. In 2008, it was at 6.6%.

But just eight months after President Obama promised lower unemployment, that rate spiked to a staggering 10.1%. Today, unemployment is at 9.4% with about 400,000 new claims every week.

After the $700-billion bailout, the trillion-dollar stimulus, and the massive budget bill with over 9,000 earmarks, many of you implored Washington to please stop spending money that we don't have.

But instead of cutting, we saw an unprecedented explosion of government spending and debt. It was unlike anything we've ever seen before in the history of the country.

Well, deficits were unacceptably high under President Bush, but they exploded under President Obama's direction, growing the national debt by an astounding $3.1 trillion.

Well, what did we buy? Instead of a leaner, smarter government, we bought a bureaucracy that now tells us which lightbulbs to buy and which may put 16,500 IRS agents in charge of policing President Obama's healthcare bill.

Obamacare mandates and penalties may even force many job-creators to just stop offering health insurance altogether, unless, of course, yours is one of the more than 222 privileged companies, or unions, that's already received a government waiver under Obamacare.

In the end, unless we fully repeal Obamacare, a nation that currently enjoys the world's finest healthcare might be forced to rely on government-run coverage. That could have a devastating impact on our national debt for even generations to come.

For two years, President Obama made promises, just like the ones we heard him make this evening, yet still we have high unemployment, devalued housing prices, and the cost of gasoline is skyrocketing.

Well, here's a few suggestions for fixing our economy:

  • The president could stop the EPA from imposing a job-destroying cap-and-trade system.
  • The president could support a balanced budget amendment.
  • The president could agree to an energy policy that increases American energy production and reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
  • The president could also turn back some of the 132 regulations put in place in the last two years, many of which will cost our economy $100 million or more.
  • And the president should repeal Obamacare and support free-market solutions, like medical malpractice reform and allowing all Americans to buy any healthcare policy they like anywhere in the United States.

We need to start making things again in this country, and we can do that by reducing the tax and regulatory burden on job-creators. America will have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. Think about that. Look no further to see why jobs are moving overseas.

But thanks to you, there's reason for all of us to have hope that real spending cuts are coming, because last November, you went to the polls, and you voted out the big-spending politicians and you put in their place great men and women with a commitment to follow our Constitution and cut the size of government.

I believe that we're in the very early days of a history-making turn in America.

Please know how important your calls, visits and letters are to the maintenance of our liberties. Because of you, Congress is responding, and we're just beginning to start to undo the damage that's been done the last few years, because we believe in lower taxes, we believe in a limited view of government and exceptionalism in America. And I believe that America is the indispensable nation of the world.

Just the creation of this nation itself was a miracle. Who can say that we won't see a miracle again?

The perilous battle that was fought during World War II in the Pacific at Iwo Jima was a battle against all odds, and yet this picture immortalizes the victory of young GIs over the incursion against the Japanese. These six young men raising the flag came to symbolize all of America coming together to beat back a totalitarian aggressor.

Our current debt crisis we face today is different, but we still need all of us to pull together. But we can do this. That's our hope.

We will push forward. We will proclaim liberty throughout the land. And we will do so because we, the people, will never give up on this great nation.

So God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

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