themcglynn.com

06 Jun

Remembering D Day, June 6, 1944

President Obama’s speech – Video

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Simon Agmann was in Nazi occupied France, hiding in the town of Lignieres:

We were refugees from Paris, hiding in this village to escape from the Gestapo. Although only 12 years old, I was carrying messages between different factions of the Resistance. I clearly remember two dates. The first is Pearl Harbor. When we heard about it, we didn’t consider it as a disaster. Our first reaction was an immense hope: THE AMERICANS ARE COMING! The second date, of course, is June 6, 1944. Our feeling were so intense, it was like our hearts were burning, screaming: Hold on, now they are really coming.

I write this story to render homage to my brother Jacques, hero of the underground, who passed away last month at the age of 88.

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Margret Daham’s father was in Normandy, but not with the Allied Forces:

My story is different from most that will write to this site. I was about 5 months old and my father was deployed as a German soldier in Normandy. He was captured shortly after D-Day and brought to the US as a prisoner of war. He was imprisoned at different sites, but spent at least 1 1/2 years at Savannah, Georgia. I was 2 1/2 years old when my father returned.

He was lucky to have been captured by the Allies, because most of the soldiers that were captured by the Russians were not so lucky and most of them did not return.

Even though my father was a prisoner of war, he never mentioned that he was mistreated and he formed a relationship with one of the Seargants at camp, and they stayed in contact. When my parents came to visit me in the US, we located him and he came to visit my father, it was such a joy to see this. I stayed in contact with them for many years.

My story is, that even though someone is a prisoner or war, they should still be treated as human beings.

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Obama’s remarks on the 65th anniversary

Complete Text

Good afternoon. Thank you President Sarkozy, Prime Minister Brown, Prime Minister Harper, and Prince Charles for being here today. Thank you to our Secretary of Veterans Affairs, General Eric Shinseki for making the trip out here to join us. Thanks also to Susan Eisenhower, whose grandfather began this mission sixty-five years ago with a simple charge: “Ok, let’s go.” And to a World War II veteran who returned home from this war to serve a proud and distinguished career as a United States Senator and national leader: Bob Dole.

I am not the first American president to come and mark this anniversary, and I likely will not be the last. It is an event that has long brought to this coast both heads of state and grateful citizens; veterans and their loved ones; the liberated and their liberators. It has been written about and spoken of and depicted in countless books and films and speeches. And long after our time on this Earth has passed, one word will still bring forth the pride and awe of men and women who will never meet the heroes who sit before us: D-Day.

Why is this? Of all the battles in all the wars across the span of human history, why does this day hold such a revered place in our memory? What is it about the struggle that took place on these sands behind me that brings us back here to remember year after year after year?………………………………………………………

D-Day was such a moment. One newspaper noted that “we have come to the hour for which we were born.” Had the Allies failed here, Hitler’s occupation of this continent might have continued indefinitely. Instead, victory here secured a foothold in France. It opened a path to Berlin. And it made possible the achievements that followed the liberation of Europe: the Marshall Plan, the NATO alliance, and the shared prosperity and security that flowed from each.
It was unknowable then, but so much of the progress that would define the twentieth century, on both sides of the Atlantic, came down to the battle for a slice of beach only six miles long and two miles wide.

More particularly, it came down to the men who landed here – those who now rest in this place for eternity, and those who are with us today. Perhaps more than any other reason, you, the veterans of that landing, are why we still remember what happened on D-Day. You are why we come back.

For you remind us that in the end, human destiny is not determined by forces beyond our control. You remind us that our future is not shaped by mere chance or circumstance. Our history has always been the sum total of the choices made and the actions taken by each individual man or woman. It has always been up to us………………………………………………………..

That is the story of Normandy – but also the story of America. Of the minutemen who gathered on a green in Lexington; of the Union boys from Maine who repelled a charge at Gettysburg; of the men who gave their last full measure at Inchon and Khe San; of all the young men and women whose valor and goodness still carry forward this legacy of service and sacrifice. It is a story that has never come easy, but one that always gives us hope. For as we face down the hardships and struggles of our time, and arrive at that hour for which we were born, we cannot help but draw strength from those moments in history when the best among us were somehow able to swallow their fears and secure a beachhead on an unforgiving shore. To those men who achieved that victory sixty-five years ago, I thank you for your service. May God Bless you, and may God Bless the memory of all those who rest here.

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